Skip to main content

Full text of "The place of psychology in the training of the teacher"

See other formats


KG Of 







William James, formerly Professor of Philosophy at Harvard 
University. Crown 8vo, 4s. 6d. 

fessor J. A. Green. 8vo, is. Issued twice a year. 

Green, M.A., Professor of Education in the University of 
Sheffield ; and C. Birchenough, M.A., Lecturer in Education 
in the University of Sheffield. 8vo. 

METHOD (based on Herbart's Plan). By M. Fennell and 
Members of a Teaching Staff. With a Preface by M. Fennell, 
Lecturer on Education. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. 


Garlick, B.A. With Examination Questions, Illustrations 

and Diagrams. Crown 8vo, 4s. 6d. 

Life. By Edith E. Read Mumford, M.A., Lecturer on 

" Child Training " at the Princess Christian Training College 

for Nurses, Manchester. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. 

TEACHING. By Stuart H. Rowe, Ph.D., Head of the 
Department of Psychology and Principles of Education, Brooklyn 
Training School of Teaching, New York. Crown 8vo, 6s. net. 

Theory Viewed in the Light of Contemporary Thought. By 
M. V. O'Shea, Professor of the Science and Art of Education, 
University of Wisconsin. Crown 8vo, 6s. 

T. F. G. Dexter, B.A., B.Sc, Head Master of the Finsbury 
Pupil Teachers' School ; and A. H. Garlick, B.A., Head Master 
of the Woolwich Pupil Teachers' School. Crown 8vo, 4s. 6d. 

Dexter, B.A., B.Sc, Head Master of the Finsbury Pupil 
Teachers' School; and A. H. Garlick, B.A., Head Master of 
the Woolwich Pupil Teachers' School. Crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. 
















The first three lectures in this volume have been 
addressed to the staff of the Edinburgh Pro- 
vincial College engaged in the professional train- 
ing of teacher students. At their request they 
have now been printed. The other two lectures, 
viz. those on "The Child and the Curriculum '' 
and on "The Place of Interest and Effort in 
Education/' were originally addressed to the 
Dundee Branch of the Child Study Association, 
and to the Aberdeen Association of Secondary 
School Teachers respectively. They are here 
introduced because from other points of view 
they state the fundamental thesis of the three 
opening lectures. This thesis is that the method 
of approach to the study of Psychology for the 
teacher student should be the teleological or 
biological ; i.e. the method which endeavours to 


interpret mental development in terms of purpose, 
or as adjustment of means to ends. 

My indebtedness to other educationalists, and 
especially to Professor Dewey, will be evident to 
all readers of educational theory. I also owe 
much to a recent study of the writings of Bergson. 

University of Edinburgh, 
March,. 191 x. 



I. The Place of Psychology in the Training of the 

Teacher 3 

II. The Method of Approach to the Study of the 
Problems of Psychology in their relation to 
Education 29 

III. The other Methods of Approach to the Study 

of Psychology 53 

IV. The Child and the Curriculum . . .81 
V. The Place of Interest and Effort in Education 109 






Within recent years in this country, there has 
been a growing recognition of the two truths that 
the Science of Psychology possesses a value for 
the educator, and that, therefore, some study of 
the subject should be included in the curriculum 
of every student intending to enter upon the pro- 
fession of teaching. But whilst this is so, there 
is, as yet, no clear nor generally recognized concep- 
tion of the exact place which the Science of Psy- 
chology should occupy in the practical training of 
the future teacher, nor any common agreement as 
to the method by which the student of education 
should become acquainted with the psychologi- 
cal principles or laws which bear upon the art of 
teaching. This want of a clear idea of the place 
of the Science in the practical training of the 
teacher may be illustrated by considering three 
views, which are, or have been current. 

In the first place, it is or may be held that the 


direct study of Psychology need have no place in 
the training of the teacher, and, that it is sufficient 
if the student become acquainted with the practi- 
cal rules which may be deduced from the Science. 
In a crude form, this belief prevailed and was 
acted upon for many years, and, as a consequence, 
educational principles were presented to the stu- 
dent either upon the authority of his teacher, or 
upon that of some recognized manual on school 

Manifestly, even when these principles were 
based on a knowledge of the laws of mental 
development, the recipient of the principles re- 
mained at the empirical level without any intel- 
ligent comprehension of the mental conditions 
which gave validity to the rules. Moreover, in 
many cases, the principles so set forth were mere 
empirical generalizations, without any claim to 
have been derived from a direct study of the 
mind, and were, as a rule, founded on a limited 
experience of work in the classroom. Such 
empirical generalizations, whilst, no doubt, pos- 
sessing some truth, were often so mingled with 
error, that they became unsafe guides in practice 
and often proved rather a hindrance than an aid 
to the teacher. 

Now, the dangers in such a method are, that 
sooner or later it tends, on the intellectual side, 


to become a mere formalism ; and, on the prac- 
tical side, to reduce the teacher to a mere me- 
chanic, blindly and unintelligently applying rules 
for which he can give, at best, only an empirical 
justification. It tends to become a mere formal- 
ism, for terms come to be used and to be bandied 
about without any clear apprehension of the 
realities for which they stand. It is no uncom- 
mon thing, e.g., to hear the term " interest" used 
as if it stood for some thing in itself, for some 
mental entity or brute force instead of being a 
general term for certain specific and well-defined 
mental states which may arise, and be due to 
many and various concrete conditions. Hence it 
follows that a student, if he is to gain a real and 
living knowledge of what an interesting experi- 
ence means, must realize that this can be obtained 
only by the observation and analysis of his own 
mental condition when he himself is interested in 
the attainment of any end. Moreover, it is only 
by such a method that he can make any approxi- 
mation to the understanding of what goes on in the 
minds of his pupils when they are really interested, 
as it is only by a constant reference to experience 
that he can prevent the study of Psychology from 
becoming a mere empty and barren formalism. 
Similarly, other mental phenomena can only be 
understood by referring them to individual experi- 


ence. To take but one other example : inatten- 
tion to the subject on hand is frequent in the 
classroom, but the teacher often looks upon such a 
phenomenon as a mere fact which it is within the 
power of the child to remove. An analysis of his 
own experience would reveal that inattention is a 
case of divided attention — of divided interest — 
and that for its abolition there is no one invariable 
remedy, but many, according to the conditions 
determining the contending interests. 

Again, any method which is content with im- 
parting educational principles merely upon author- 
ity, tends to reduce teaching to the mechanical 
following out of certain rules, and not to the in- 
telligent application of principles which can be 
verified by reference to experience. For, since 
the rules are received and accepted on authority, 
there does not arise any need or claim for their 
verification, or, at best, if such a need or claim 
arises, the justification or verification of the rules is 
found in a consideration of the results attained, and 
not in a consideration of the processes or methods 
involved in their attainment. As a consequence 
of thus looking entirely at the results, and not at 
the processes involved in their attainment, the 
teaching tends to become mechanical and the in- 
centives to action, external. Every one who is 
acquainted with the school practice of the present 


time is aware of the fact that a large part of the 
instruction reduces itself to a mere mechanical 
drilling of the pupil. Few realize that this is to 
be accounted for by the fact that the child is to the 
teacher a mere object who may be moved, now 
in this direction, now in that, by the operation of 
some external stimulus, and to the neglecting of 
the nature of the experiences through which the 
child actually passes in the endeavour to attain 
any desired end. 

It, therefore, follows that, if the knowledge of 
psychological principles imparted to the student 
fails to make him know and understand the 
mental processes through which the pupil passes 
in the acquisition and organization of experience, 
then it ceases to have any value. Nay, it is 
worse than of no value, for it tends to make him 
substitute for a real knowledge, a mere sem- 
blance and show of knowledge, and to seem to 
act upon it. It were much better in such a case 
to found the practice of the teacher upon the mere 
empirical observation of what goes on in the class- 
room than to make a pretence that his conduct is 
based on scientific principles for which he can 

Now, every and any method of inculcating 
educational principles by setting them forth as so 


many external and absolute rules must have the 
results indicated. Unless the student of educa- 
tion undertakes the study of Psychology, in the 
first place, for its own sake and in order that he 
may understand what goes on in the acquisition 
and organization of experience ; and, in the second 
place, in order that he may gain a knowledge of 
how to regulate the acquisition and organization 
of experience within the minds of his pupils, then 
he can never carry on his work in a truly profes- 
sional spirit. 

The second view of the relation of Psychology 
to Education in the 'training of the teacher is a 
refined form of the first. In this view, it is ad- 
mitted that the study of Psychology is of some 
value to the teacher, but it is contended that the 
attitude of the pure psychologist towards what 
goes on in the acquisition and organization of 
experience is different from that of the education- 
alist. The attitude of the former, it is maintained, 
is scientific and theoretic : of the latter, ethical 
and practical. Hence the conclusion is drawn 
that between the pure psychologist, on the one 
hand, and the practical teacher, on the other, 
there is need of a third person, who shall, from 
the results of the pure science, deduce the practi- 
cal principles which are of value to education ; 


and shall pass them over in a simplified form for 
the guidance of the teacher in the practical every- 
day work of the classroom. 

But the objections which have been urged 
against the cruder form of the position apply with 
equal, if not with greater force, to this view. For 
its upholders make the assumption that there may 
be one method of acquiring experience in the 
classroom and another, quite different, outside 
of it ; it further gives rise to the opinion that 
there is one kind of Psychology for the teacher, 
another for the social reformer, and that every 
sphere of practice has its own peculiar psychology. 
It is no doubt true that every difference of prac- 
tical attitude involves a difference in the results 
or ends sought to be attained, but this does not 
involve that there are fundamental differences in 
the methods and processes by which these results 
are attained. It is with the organization of 
means for the attainment of ends, on their inner 
and subjective side, with which Psychology is 
concerned ; and the fundamental principles of the 
acquisition and organization of experiences are 
similar, whether we are attempting to reach some 
educational end, or some other end of a practical 
or theoretical nature. Moreover, no one would 
admit such a division of work in any other 
science. No one, e.g., claims that the technical 


chemist should receive the principles underlying 
his particular business from some one intermedi- 
ate between the pure and applied chemist. It 
should rather be urged that the technical chemist 
wUl not thoroughly know and understand his 
own department, unless he has previously made 
a study of chemistry for its own sake. 

And, surely, those who advocate such a view 
of the relationship of Psychology to Education 
have a poor opinion, not only of the average 
teacher's intelligence, but of his place in society. 
For, consider carefully what it involves. In the 
carrying out, e.g., of any chemical process of in- 
dustrial value, we may distinguish three sets of 
workers. There is, in the first place, the pure 
chemist whose main interest lies in the chemical 
processes involved, and not in the industrial results 
attained ; there is, in the second place, the techni- 
cal chemist whose chief interest is centred in the 
results attained, and in their betterment, and 
whose interest in the processes involved is largely 
determined by the results attained ; lastly, we 
have, acting under the technical chemist, the 
mere worker who undertakes the mechanical 
operations necessary for the carrying on of the 
chemical processes. The last named, it is need- 
less to say, may have absolutely no knowledge of 
chemistry, theoretical or practical, and his whole 


work may be performed in a blind and mechanical 
way. Very much the same relationship is implied 
in the view that between the pure psychologist 
and the teacher there should intervene the edu- 
cational psychologist. But surely it is in order to 
rid ourselves of this mechanical and unintelligent 
method of carrying on the work of education 
that the study of Psychology is now included in 
the curriculum of the student intending to enter 
upon teaching. We must get rid of the idea 
that there is a Psychology for teachers some- 
how independent of, and apart from the study of 
Psychology in itself. 

It is, no doubt, true that the attitude of the 
pure psychologist is different from that of the 
educationalist. The main interest of the former, 
as we have seen, lies in the analysis and syn- 
thesis of the processes involved in the attainment 
of ends ; the main interest of the latter lies in the 
attainment of ends. But only in so far as the 
teacher understands the nature of the mental 
processes involved can he intelligently regulate, 
supplement, and aid in the attainment of any 
desired end. 

Hence it follows that the third view, viz. that 
the student of education must, in the first place, 
undertake the study of Psychology for its own 


sake, and, thereafter, in its relation to educational 
practice, is the only sound and tenable position. 
It is not, of course, contended that every problem 
of Psychology is of equal value to the teacher, 
but there is no problem which may not throw 
some light on educational practice. In this 
direct study of Psychology the student should 
be trained from the first to observe, to analyse, 
and to note the constituent factors in his own 
complex mental states. For, as we have already 
pointed out, it is only by such a method that he 
can really know and understand the mental pro- 
cesses involved in the attainment of any end, as 
it is only thus that he can have a basis for 
inferring what is going on in his pupil's mind. 
It is the neglect of this truth that makes much of 
the teaching of Psychology in our Universities 
and Training Colleges utterly worthless, and fur- 
nishes the student merely with a psychological 
phraseology and not with any real knowledge of 
mental processes. Nay, often the knowledge is 
worse than useless, for it induces a belief in the 
student's mind that, because he can set forth 
his educational principles in psychological jar- 
gon, thereby he really is assuming the proper 
scientific attitude towards his work, and has 
thus placed his art on a proper scientific basis. 
Moreover, the danger of substituting a mere 


formalism for real knowledge is greater in the 
study of Psychology than in the natural sciences. 
In the latter, we can easily test between mere 
verbal knowledge and real knowledge by asking 
the student to work out some concrete problem. 
In the former, the only real test is by reference 
to individual experience, and here we must trust 
the good faith of the observer. 

Hence, it follows that mere lecturing to stu- 
dents on the principles of Psychology is not 
sufficient ; in fact, it is from the predominance 
of lecturing methods in the teaching of the sub- 
ject that much of the uselessness of the present- 
day study of the science results. Lecturing on 
Psychology must be combined with seminar 
work in which the student, along with his teacher, 
investigates real problems, endeavours to analyse 
complex mental processes and to verify the re- 
sults attained by reference to his own experience. 
Experimental methods have done much to make 
the study real, and, along with the seminar 
work, the student should be trained to under- 
take work in the simpler problems requiring 
experimental methods. 

Having laid down that the student of educa- 
tion must undertake the study of Psychology in 
the first place for its own sake, and, thereafter, in 


order to ascertain what guidance it may furnish 
him in the everyday work of the classroom, we 
may now ask what are the tests to be employed 
in determining what psychological facts or prin- 
ciples may furnish such guidance. Now, in this 
connexion the student of education must be 
frankly pragmatic, and must openly and courage- 
ously apply two tests to the discrimination of the 
psychological material useful in the work of 
education. In the first place, he must ask : does 
the knowledge of this or that psychological fact 
or principle aid in the betterment of educational 
practice, i.e. does it aid in the institution of 
better methods, not of methods in general, but 
of particular methods of teaching the special sub- 
jects of the school? This is the first test of 
the educational value of any psychological know- 
ledge. But the discovery and establishment of 
better methods of teaching is not the only 
problem of the school ; the other and equally 
important problem is concerned with the manage- 
ment of a group of children, and hence arises the 
second test. Does the study of Psychology aid 
the teacher by throwing light on how to manage a 
group or class of pupils ? Little has been done, 
as yet, to show the bearing of the psychology of 
a group upon the methods of class management, 
although we are all aware that a child behaves 


differently as a member of a group from what he 
does as a separate individual ; and that the nature 
of his reactions as a member of a group, standing 
in the relation of subordination to his teacher, and 
of co-ordination with his fellows, is of a much 
more varied and complex character in the latter 
case than in the former. 

Let us now consider more fully the nature of 
the two tests laid down. Does the study of 
Psychology aid the student in the understanding 
and betterment of particular methods — particular 
methods of teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, 
and the other subjects embraced in the school 
curriculum ? 

Now, a method of education is simply a mode 
or a way in which we aid our pupils to acquire 
and to organize some part or portion of the race 
experience requisite as a means for the attainment 
of some definite and specific end. On the part of 
the pupil there must be two conditions present if 
any method is to be successful. In the first place, 
there must be present some desire, direct or in- 
direct, for the attainment of the end ; and, in the 
second place, there must be some effort exerted 
in the acquisition and organization of the means 
necessary for its attainment, or, in other words, 
we must evoke the activity of our pupil. Mani- 
festly, the first condition must arise and persist if 


the second is to have any chance of success. 
Hence a method in education is to be judged 
(i) by the nature of the motives or incentives 
which are brought into operation in the acquisition 
of new experiences, and (2) by the manner or 
mode in which the experience is acquired and 
organized for the attainment of the desired end. 
Moreover, the success of any method by which a 
system of means is acquired, organized, and 
established, depends not upon whether the pupil 
can remember and reproduce the knowledge im- 
parted, but upon whether he can intelligently use 
it for the attainment of real ends, i.e. ends which 
he can intelligently understand, and which are 
within his powers to attain, e.g. can the pupil in- 
telligently use words in making his needs, practi- 
cal or theoretical, known? Only then has he 
successfully acquired the particular knowledge. 
And so, throughout, the only real and sure test 
that new experiences have been acquired and 
established is their intelligent use in the attain- 
ment of ends of felt value to the pupil. Hence, 
in this respect, the two-fold question which the 
student of education has to ask of Psychology is : 
does the study aid me in the understanding of the 
inner and subjective springs to action ; how they 
may be aroused, maintained, and used in the ac- 
quisition of new experiences? Does it furnish 


any guidance as to how best to regulate, supple- 
ment, and aid the acquisition and organization of 
the new experiences necessary for the attainment 
of any desired end ? 

Hence, it follows that, in the first place, the 
student of education must get to know and 
thoroughly to understand the nature of those in- 
stinctive emotional tendencies to action, which 
are the motive forces ever urging both the child 
and the adult to acquire new experiences. This 
would involve an inquiry into the fundamental 
and primary emotional tendencies to action ; when 
they make their appearance in human develop- 
ment ; how they combine to form complex in- 
stinctive tendencies to action, and how they 
become progressively modified as the result of 
social intercourse. The teacher has to arouse 
now one, and now another of these innate 
springs to action, and only by an intelligent 
knowledge of their origin, rise, and development, 
can he rightly use them in the endeavour to lead 
his pupils to acquire new knowledge, and more- 
over it is only by their intelligent apprehension 
that he can distinguish between the use of right 
and wrong motives to action. Here, again, a 
mere book knowledge of natural interests or 
instincts is insufficient, nay, useless. If the 

teacher is truly to understand he must be able 



to realize what takes place in a child's mind 
when he is moved by curiosity, or by fear, or 
by emulation, or by any other spring to action. 
Further, by a consideration of what actually takes 
place, he must be able to understand the varying 
effect of these motives upon the acquisition of 
new experiences. How and why, e.g., excessive 
fear tends to defeat itself : how and why excessive 
emulation may result in creating a wrong con- 
ception of the use and purpose of knowledge. 

Further it is only by a correct understanding of 
these primitive emotional tendencies to action in 
their operation that the student can put any in- 
telligible meaning upon that much-abused term 
" interest " Direct and indirect interest are terms 
often used in educational psychology as if they 
stood for two separate and distinct, and contend- 
ing mental forces, whereas they are simply names 
for two attitudes towards the acquisition and con- 
struction of experience, and the real forces at 
work are the instinctive emotional tendencies in 
our nature acting singly or in some complex form. 

Direct interest is simply the mode or manner 
in which an inborn instinct manifests itself in the 
endeavour to attain its natural aim. The native 
curiosity of the child may be taken as an example. 
Here the child becomes interested in the con- 


struction of experience to see what will theoreti- 
cally or practically result. In indirect interest, 
on the other hand, the natural instinct, which 
operates as motive force, is not directly or intrin- 
sically connected with the construction of experi- 
ence ; as, e.g., when the child is forced to acquire 
knowledge, through fear of punishment, or hope 
of reward. 

Needless to say that " interest" may assume 
many and complex forms because human conduct 
is moved by many complex springs to action. 

Of the fundamental instincts, the two most im- 
portant for the teacher to understand are the 
instincts of self-assertion and self-submission and 
their interplay. One or other of these primitive 
instincts is to be found as a constituent element 
in all the complex emotional tendencies to action, 
and now one, now the other, is the dominating 
motive force in the development of experience. 
The present writer has found that the study of 
Psychology becomes real and living to the student 
and, at times, self- revealing, when he is asked to 
analyse carefully complex emotional attitudes, such 
as awe, reverence, shame, remorse, and to ob- 
serve that they are complex emotional states 
which can be resolved into primary constituents. 

Further, the importance of such an analysis and 
2 * 


such an understanding of the motive forces which 
move us to act is of vital importance in the moral 
education of the pupil. In fact it is only when this 
is undertaken, that we can avoid the danger of 
making our moral instruction merely perceptive 
and formal. It is the neglect to take account of 
these instinctive tendencies to action in all their 
complexity, that is the root fallacy of those who 
maintain that the rational apprehension of the 
consequences of action is the chief factor in the 
moral education of the child. Rather, in moral 
education what we desire to do is to make dom- 
inant certain emotional tendencies to action and 
to suppress others, and this can only be effected 
by giving the tendencies we wish to become 
dominant, opportunity for exercise. An example 
will best illustrate this establishing and dominancy 
of an instinctive tendency to act. It is no un- 
common thing for a youth to make strenuous 
efforts to acquire knowledge ; to win University 
distinctions and degrees, not because he is in- 
terested in the construction of knowledge for its 
own sake, nor for its value as a means to the 
attainment of an end intrinsically connected with 
the knowledge acquired, but in order that he may 
gain some worldly success. The motive force 
here at work is some form of ambition. In the 
extreme case, two results follow, viz. the motive 


force becomes the dominant one in the acqui- 
sition of knowledge, and, as a consequence, an 
entirely wrong conception of the place or func- 
tion of knowledge in human life follows. 

Knowledge and its acquisition tend to be con- 
ceived of, not as a means to the realization of some 
end or purpose of social value, but as something 
either inherently valuable in itself, or, as a means to 
attain worldly success. Hence the value of know- 
ledge as a means to the betterment of practice falls 
out of sight. We all know men of distinguished 
scholarship at school and college whose knowledge 
remains a mere individual possession, seldom or 
never used for the attainment of any social purpose. 

From what has been said, it will be apparent 
that the teacher, if he is to carry on his art in a 
scientific spirit, must have a thorough understand- 
ing of the inner or subjective springs to action ; in 
particular, he must realize that the motives im- 
pelling the child to acquire and to organize new 
experiences are often of an extremely complex 
character ; and that the term interest is a general 
name which includes under it many and various 
emotional tendencies impelling the individual to 
acquire and to organize new experiences. More- 
over, it is only by an understanding of the subjec- 
tive springs to action that he can understand the 


actions and reactions of a child as a member of a 
class or group. 

So far we have been dealing with that depart- 
ment of Psychology which is concerned with the 
emotional and instinctive springs to action, and 
since all rational action implies a knowledge of the 
means for its attainment, as a consequence, we have 
also been discussing the motives which impel to 
the acquisition of knowledge. 

The second part of our problem is : how may a 
knowledge of Psychology aid the teacher in his 
endeavour to help the child in the acquisition and 
organization of knowledge ? Now, in endeavour- 
ing to understand and to improve the methods of 
instruction, the first thing necessary for the student 
is to have a clear conception of the place or func- 
tion of self-consciousness in human development, 
and of the meaning and place of knowledge in the 
development of human experience. Without clear 
and correct ideas on these two points, he will 
fail to obtain any guiding principle to aid him in 
the understanding and improvement of educa- 
tional methods. 

The first problem may be made clear by com- 
paring and contrasting, what goes on in the life 
governed wholly or mainly by instinct, with what 
takes place in the life guided by self-conscious 
ends or purposes. In an instinctive action the 


whole process once set in operation tends to work 
itself out in an automatic manner, and without the 
intervention of consciousness. There may be, of 
course, a pleasurable or painful consciousness of the 
effects of each part of the series of movements- as 
they work themselves out, but there is no direct 
intervention with the object of altering or modify- 
ing the process. In other words, the means 
necessary for the attainment of the end have not 
been acquired as the result of individual experi- 
ence, but are innate or inborn in the nature of the 

On the other hand, in a self-conscious act, we 
have the operation of a system of means acquired 
and organized as the result of a course of indivi- 
dual experience, and for the attainment of some 
definite and specific end. Now, self-consciousness 
arises whenever a better or a more complex adapta- 
tion of means to end is required than can be ob- 
tained by mere instinct, and hence it follows that 
the function of self-consciousness is to acquire, or- 
ganize, and establish systems of means for the 
attainment of ends or purposes of a more complex 
or of a more varied character than can be obtained 
by mere instinct. This is the biological signifi- 
cance of the rise and appearance of self-conscious- 
ness in nature. What may be the ultimate or 
metaphysical significance of the fact need con- 


cern neither the psychologist nor the educator. 
Whether the appearance of self-consciousness 
indicates the appearance of an individual soul, 
or of a one universal spirit, is a matter of no 
moment to the teacher in the betterment of his 
methods. All that he is concerned to know and 
to understand is that with the rise or appearance 
of self-consciousness, we have the appearance of 
the power of foreseeing an end and of adapting 
means for its attainment. Hence it also follows 
from this biological or instrumental interpretation 
of consciousness, that the only true conception of 
the place of knowledge in human development is 
that its acquisition and organization is a means 
to an end, viz. to the betterment of practice, and, 
that in the case in which the acquisition of any 
knowledge results in the attainment of no end 
beyond itself, then we have wrongly conceived 
of its function. 

However, in asserting that the acquisition and 
organization of knowledge is for the betterment 
of practice, the latter term must not be taken in 
its narrower and cruder sense. It includes not 
merely practice in the common usage of the word, 
but also all betterment of the intellectual func- 
tions of the individual. What is to be condemned 
is the acquisition of knowledge as a means for the 
attainment of some extrinsic and temporary end 


which leaves the judgment unaltered and un- 
trained. And ultimately all improvement in the 
intellectual powers is for the greater perfection of 

Hence also it follows, from the conception of 
consciousness here laid down, that the already- 
established knowledge — the race experience — 
is but the already known means for the attain- 
ment of ends, and, therefore, in the understanding 
of the methods of education, the student must 
endeavour to ascertain the mental laws which 
operate in the establishment of knowledge. It, 
therefore, follows that the second department 
of Psychology of value to the educator is the 
understanding of how the mind operates in the es- 
tablishment of the various branches of knowledge. 





At the conclusion of the former lecture, it was 

pointed out that the biological significance of the 

rise of self-consciousness consists in the fact that 

it makes its appearance, whenever a better or 

more complex adaptation of means to ends is 

requisite than can be attained by mere instinct. 

From this it follows, that the psychology of value 

to the educator is that which attempts to trace 

how from the simpler there is gradually evolved 

the more complex adaptation of means to ends. 

From the canoe of the primitive savage, hollowed 

out by fire, to the construction of a Mauretania, we 

have a long and difficult process of adaptation of 

means to secure a similar end, and to satisfy a 

fundamental human need, but the mental factors 

involved in the more complex adaptation are 

similar in kind to those which led to the formation 

of the primitive canoe. We have in both cases a 



felt need, an end desired, and an adoption and 
adaptation of a system of means for their attainment. 
The difference lies not in the nature of the mental 
operations involved ; but in the increased com- 
plexity of the conditions necessary for the satisfac- 
tion of the more complex need. The primitive 
need has evolved into the complex need of to-day, 
and is ever progressing ; and because it is a pro- 
gressive need, there is ever and constantly present 
the demand for new knowledge — for an increas- 
ing new adaptation of means to secure an ad- 
vancing end — an ever-increasing need. This 
illustrates the truth that cognition or knowledge is 
subordinate to needs — is instrumental in the at- 
tainment of ends. Assume that an individual or 
a nation has no further needs to satisfy, theoretical 
or practical, and we find an unprogressive indivi- 
dual, an unprogressive nation. And the converse 
is also true, the progressive individual or nation is 
ever on the move, ever on the search for know- 
ledge which may realize his or their purposes, 
may satisfy his or their needs. But let us not fall 
into the error, the utilitarian error, of supposing 
that the needs to be satisfied, the ends to be at- 
tained, are wholly or mainly of a practical and 
economic character. The search for knowledge 
may spring from other needs, e.g. from the need 
to understand the life history of the world in which 


we live, or, in order that we may solve the riddle 
of the universe. This is the motive force which 
underlies the activity of a Darwin or a Wallace, as 
it is the living motive behind all real philosophic 
inquiry, and the ever-present spring of all pro- 
gressive religions. If this is true, and once we 
seriously consider it, surely it cannot be doubted, 
then it follows that in Education the Psychology 
which is important is that which takes into ac- 
count these various human needs as they pro- 
gressively manifest themselves, and which shows 
us how to furnish the knowledge for their successful 

The fact that knowledge — the experience of 
the race — has gradually arisen and been estab- 
lished as means to the attainment of human ends 
is thus the key to the correct interpretation of all 
mental development as it is the key to all sound 
method in Education. For whenever in the teach- 
ing of any school subject we teach it so that its 
end or purpose is not realized by the pupil, then 
we are in danger of teaching it in such a way as 
to produce no abiding or valuable results. When- 
ever any branch of knowledge is imparted thus, 
then it becomes difficult for the pupil to go 
through or even to understand the mental pro- 
cesses which were present in the establishment of 
the original knowledge. 


Consider, e.g., the art of navigating one of 
our great rivers fitted to bear our largest ships. 
But a few years ago this art was in the hands 
of a special class, who, in an empirical way, by 
means of certain land marks and water signs, 
guided the vessel safely into port. The need 
here gave rise to a special class, with a special, 
although empirical, knowledge. With the de- 
velopment of the need for greater security, arises 
the demand for more certain knowledge and for 
greater surety in the guiding signs. Hence fol- 
low soundings of the channels, the erection of 
lighthouses, and the fixing of buoys to mark out 
the waterways that are safe and secure. This 
real and living process is recorded on a chart — 
the formal embodiment of a real result. Suppose 
we were to teach the art of reading this chart 
simply as a piece of information, as a mere list 
of lighthouses and water signs placed here and 
there, then we should be teaching it divorced 
from a knowledge of the real need — the real 
purpose which motived the whole undertaking. 
I have taken this illustration because it throws 
light not merely on many wrong methods in teach- 
ing but in order to illustrate my first general pro- 
position in the teaching of Psychology as applied 
to Education. The pure psychologist may, of 
course, adopt any attitude towards the interpre- 


tation of experience which may suit his particular 
purpose. Not so the psychologist, whose main 
attitude is the betterment of educational practice. 
For the latter, the point of view is and must be 
determined by the end which he seeks to attain, 
and the aim of Education from the side of Cogni- 
tion may be said to be twofold, viz. ( 1 ) to transfer 
or to hand over or to impart to the pupil certain 
parts or portions of the already established and 
verified race -experience ; and (2) to do so in 
such a manner that the pupil will understand, 
at least, the real mental processes which were at 
work in the establishment of the original know- 
ledge and the needs which were the motive forces 
in its establishment. Neglect of the second aim, 
tends to lead to the storing up of mere useless, 
purposeless knowledge. Insistence on it may 
tend hereafter to the intelligent application and 
extension of knowledge. 

Hence the Psychology which is of value in 
Education is the Psychology which sees through- 
out all mental development an underlying single 
activity which, as it develops, manifests itself 
through perception, imagination, and conception 
as stages in its growth. That is to say, percep- 
tion, imagination, and conception are not mere 
stages in the development of cognition, but 



stages in which the mind gradually passes from 
simpler to more complex adaptation of means to 
ends. Bergson, the greatest of present-day 
French writers on philosophy, has pointed out 
how the assumption that perception has a purely 
speculative or cognitive interest leads both to an 
unintelligible idealism and an unintelligible ma- 
terialism, and it also leads to fundamental errors 
in educational theory. Since, on such a theory, 
perception is considered merely as the first stage 
in cognition, and so is divorced from its true func- 
tion of aiding and guiding action, we have the 
educational fallacies that training in sense-percep- 
tion or observation is an end in itself and that 
its value is to be reckoned by the mere area 
which is covered. But observation in real life is 
undertaken either to realize a purpose, to locate a 
difficulty, or to verify a hypothesis. Real " obser- 
vation," as Prof. Dewey points out, " is explora- 
tion, inquiry for the sake of discovering something 
previously hidden or unknown ; this something 
being needed in order to satisfy some end, prac- 
tical or theoretical ". It manifests itself in the 
activity of the young child and in the clear con- 
sciousness of the genuine scientific worker in his 
search for knowledge. In school, observation 
or Nature Study too often becomes a task ex- 
ternally imposed upon the pupil, unrelated to 


any need of his, and so without interest to 

This divorce of knowledge from end or purpose 
tends to similar misconceptions in Education in 
the training of the imagination and of the 
reasoning of the pupil. In imagination it leads 
to the view that the training is something good 
in itself. But even in the case of the so-called 
aesthetic imagination, this is not so. This is 
surely evident, for any exercising of the aesthetic 
imagination which tends to issue in evil or un- 
social conduct is condemned. We do not con- 
demn, e.g., the imaginative processes of the 
hooligan when he pictures himself a leader of 
his gang, and endeavours to realize his aim. 
We condemn the aim — the purpose, — not the 
mental means by which it is realized. Our busi- 
ness is to recognize this need, — the instinctive 
need of the ambitious or combative adolescent, 
and to direct it into socially useful channels. In 
like manner, as regards conception and the 
reasoning processes the divorce of knowledge 
from purpose leads to the theory that training 
in reasoning is an end in itself and produces 
the disciplined mind. But a disciplined mind, if 
it means anything at all, implies a power to 
grapple with real problems, to have command 
over real situations. This, however, can only be 



attained in so far as throughout the Educative 
process, the reasoning processes have been un- 
dertaken to solve real problems — to meet real 

So far, then, my second general proposition 
is that the psychology which is of value in 
Education is the psychology which treats men- 
tal development from the point of view of 
function or purpose and that sees in percep- 
tion, in imagination, and in conception, stages 
in the elaboration of function, in the develop- 
ment and complexity of purpose, and, more- 
over, that endeavours as far as possible to relate 
all acquisition of knowledge to the instinctive 
needs of the child, and to realize that primitive 
need and final purpose are but the initial and 
final stages in a process mediated by the acquisi- 
tion and organization of knowledge. 

From these general propositions, I pass to the 
third. Here again I borrow from Bergson, al- 
though his contention is in the interests of a philo- 
sophic thesis. According to Bergson, the past 
survives under two distinct forms: (i) as a 
number or series of motor mechanisms, and (2) 
as a system of independent recollections, and ac- 
cording to this writer these two kinds of memories 
differ not merely in degree, but in kind. The 
one, the motor mechanism, is a function of the 


body, is purely material ; the other, the independ- 
ent recollection, is a function of the mind or spirit, 
and is purely spiritual. With this interpretation, 
we need neither agree nor disagree. It is a purely 
metaphysical hypothesis, and we may admit the 
distinction between the two kinds of memories 
without assenting to the hypothesis. For the 
mental life, when examined, clearly reveals two 
methods by which adaptation of means to ends 
is secured ; two ways in which we store up the ex- 
perience of the past. The so-called secondarily 
automatic actions, slowly acquired through in- 
telligent effort and trial, function best when they 
act with the certainty and fixedness to be found 
in certain instincts. Writing and reading, e.g, 
have a mechanical or automatic aspect, which, 
when attained and fixed in so as to require a 
minimum of attention, best attain their end, and 
so leave the mind free to devote its energy to the 
meaning or significance of the written or spoken 
work. In the case of writing we have a series of 
connexions established between visual signs and 
certain form movements. In spoken language, 
between auditory signs and movements of speech. 
The function of perception, in both cases, is to 
start off or set in motion the specific motor re- 

On the other hand, there are certain systems 


of knowledge which, for their efficiency, depend 
upon the fact that they never become motor 
mechanisms, but may be recalled in whole, or in 
part, as occasion requires. Let me give you an 
example. In order to solve a problem in geo- 
metry, we must postulate, at least, the possibility 
of the recall of all the previous knowledge possessed 
by the pupil, and his success depends largely upon 
whether, and in what order, he can reinstate the 
past. The success of such a system of knowledge 
depends, in fact, upon the readiness, the orderli- 
ness, and the serviceableness of the recall. Another 
fact to note is that each and every part of the 
recalled knowledge must be attended to, in order 
to ascertain whether or not it may be useful in 
the solution of the suggested problem. In the 
first-named class of memories, the system functions 
best when attention is absent or at a minimum. In 
the second, the success of the system depends 
upon the range and intensity of the attention 
process. What is the meaning, the significance 
of the fact that there are two modes of learning, 
two methods by which we store up experience, 
or two ways by which adaptation of means to ends 
is attained ; one which approximates to the nature 
of a pure instinct ; the other approximating to the 
nature of a pure intelligence. Both Royce and 
Baldwin have noted this distinction, the distinction 


roughly between habitual action and intelligent 
action, but it is to Bergson that we owe the true 
biological explanation of the fact. This explanation 
he has given in the somewhat enigmatical proposi- 
tion that " Perception is master of space in the 
exact measure that action is master of time ". This 
seems a cryptic and difficult saying, but it embodies 
an important truth ; necessary for the correct in- 
terpretation of the mental life, and necessary for 
all sound method in education. What it really 
means is that the wider the range of our perceptual 
powers the greater is our control over action. 
Suppose an animal whose powers of discrimination 
are limited to those sensations which directly affect 
the welfare of his own body, then the nature of 
the reaction, if it is to serve its purpose, must be 
more or less immediate. Any hesitancy or de- 
liberation would or might be fatal. This kind 
of immediate response is fixed in the whole life- 
history of the lowest of living organisms, and in 
the reflex activity of the human being. At the 
other extreme, let us suppose a being with un- 
limited power and range of preception, and we 
should have to suppose a being whose action 
could or might be delayed indefinitely. Midway 
between these two extremes lies the human in- 
dividual, and the measure of his intelligence, in 
every case, is determined by the measure in which 


immediate response has been displaced by mediate 
response. In other words, habitual or instinctive 
response is an affair of the body or of the lower 
centres of the nervous system ; intelligent or 
consciously purposive response is an affair of the 
soul or of the higher cerebral centres, i.e. habitual 
reactions have to do with the adaptation of means 
to immediate bodily needs, and hence are best 
attained when they approximate to pure instinct ; 
intelligent reactions have to do with the adaptation 
of means to the more remote bodily or other needs, 
and, in order to attain their end, action must be 
master of time. Consider the habitual part of 
any secondarily automatic habit, and you will 
find that we have present an adaptation of the 
body to meet an immediate bodily need. It is 
no doubt an acquired action, an acquired response, 
but in its acquisition and establishment it has been 
modelled on the lines of reflex and instinctive 

Hence follows my third general proposition 
that it is only a psychology which interprets 
mental development in terms of purpose that can 
give an intelligent account of habit ; can under- 
stand its limitations in human progress, and can 
realize the true distinction between habitual pro- 
cess and intelligent action. Both have similar ends 
in view, both are means to the realization of ends. 


Ends whose realization must be immediate are 
relegated to habit ; ends whose realization may 
be deferred belong to the region of intelligence, 
and so action becomes master of time in the exact 
measure in which the perceptual powers of each 
become master of space. In education we are con- 
stantly prone to forget this distinction ; we compel 
our pupils to memorize, to reduce to a mechanism 
a system of knowledge whose function is to serve 
as a means for the attainment of a remote and de- 
ferred end. We reduce to a habit serving no pur- 
pose beyond that of mere barren reproduction what 
is intended for the understanding and comprehen- 
sion of a real purpose — a real, although remote, 
need. What should we think of the educator of the 
seaman who insisted upon and rested content with 
the mere memorizing of the names on a chart. 
And yet something similar is the daily practice in 
many of our schools. For the true understanding 
of the chart, the seaman must understand the need 
from which it springs as well as the purpose which 
it serves. So likewise in the school teaching, 
in the interpretation, say, of a map, the pupils 
must realize the needs from which it arises and 
the final purposes which it serves. 

Assuming, then, that the psychologist s main in- 
terest in the interpretation of the mental life is for 
the sake of action, and that for this reason he en- 


deavours to give an account of mental develop- 
ment in terms of purpose, we have now to ask 
what is the particular function of the educational 
psychologist. Here, corresponding to the two 
departments of Psychology which we have laid 
down as of value to the teacher, we have the 
two duties of the educational psychologist. 

The first duty of the educational psychologist is 
to deal with the school as a society and a society 
divided into subordinate groups. The motives 
that affect the school society are similar in kind 
to those which prevail in other social groups. 
Fear, and emulation, and envy all here act as 
motives. But what seems to me of importance 
in the educational reference is to realize the differ- 
ences between a school society and the other 
social groupings. In particular what the edu- 
cational psychologist must note is the fact that in 
the school we are compelled in many cases to 
substitute for real problems, factitious problems, 
for real purposes, factitious purposes. This is 
unavoidable, and herein lie the main difficulties 
of educational method. Round this question rage 
the contending theorists. 

In order to illustrate the difficulty, let me, in 
some little detail, examine the nature of arith- 
metic. We may define arithmetic as the science 


of grouping or group forming, i.e. it deals with 
objects or individuals as members, or as capable 
of becoming members, of some group or whole. 
The qualitative nature of the group or whole 
may vary, but every whole is capable of being 
looked at from the point of view of being made 
up of a number of parts externally and not 
intrinsically related to each other. Further, it 
must be noted that number is not a property of 
things like colour which can be apprehended 
through the senses, but (1) that the idea of 
number arises through a directly apprehended 
relation of thing to thing as members of a pre- 
sented whole ; (2) the number relation is distinct 
from each and every one of its concrete embodi- 
ments, and, therefore, in every case the number or 
group relation must be distinguished from its 
practical application, e.g. twelve pennies make 
one shilling merely states, so far as the number 
relation is concerned, that a conventional unit 
taken twelve times makes another conventional 
unit or group. The number interest is here, as in 
the case of the pure theory, the construction of a 
whole or group. (3) In every practical applica- 
tion of arithmetic there is present some other end 
or interest beyond the pure number interest in the 
analysing and renumbering of a group, and these 
two interests are not to be confused, e.g. a 


problem in interest involves a business relation 
between two persons, and although this relation 
can be expressed in number, the business relation 
and the number relation are not identical. In 
the pure science the real interest at work is the 
interest or end in analysing and in reconstructing 
a vague indefinite whole into a clear definite 
whole made up of a sum of parts and generally 
in the analysing and reconstructing of groups. 

In practical arithmetic, the end is not the analys- 
ing and reconstructing of a group for its own sake, 
but the process is undertaken as a means to the 
attainment of some other end. Now failure 
clearly to realize this distinction results (i) in 
arithmetic suffering as the science of pure num- 
ber, and (2) in the other business and economic 
relations being only imperfectly or not under- 
stood. We do not make our arithmetic concrete 
by merely setting practical problems to solve. 
This can only be done in so far as the pupil 
understands the business or other relation which 
the number relation merely serves. Full under- 
standing of some, at least, of these business re- 
lations is not possible during the school period, 
and hence it follows that to some extent our pro- 
blems and purposes must be factitious. 

In like manner the educational psychologist 
must give an account of how such emotional 


springs to action as fear and emulation operate in 
the activities of the school, and wherein they differ 
in their operation in other social groups, and must 
endeavour to indicate their true place in an edu- 
cational society. In this field there is no laclc of 
problems. The environmental influence of home 
and of companions, the effect of external exami- 
nations as incentives to school action, and many 
similar problems all fall within the scope of the 
Psychology of Education. 

The second duty of the teacher of Psychol- 
ogy of Education is to point out how, in accordance 
with the general principles of mental development, 
school subjects should be adapted so as to aid and 
to further this development. This involves an 
account of the specific nature of the psychological 
processes underlying all the habitual actions, such 
as reading and writing. In this connexion the 
student must make a study of abnormal cases, 
since these may throw light on the normal pro- 
cesses. That is to say, it is the business of the 
educational psychologist clearly to realize ( i ) what 
particular portions of our inherited experience are 
to be transmitted to the child in the form of motor 
mechanisms and what particular experiences are 
and should not be so transmitted, and (2) starting 
from the general principles which underlie the 
formation of all such systems, to give a specific 


account of the motor mechanisms which underlie 
the special arts of reading and writing and the 
various forms of manual dexterities which may be 
included in a school curriculum. 

As regards the second and more important part 
of our inherited experience which falls to be trans- 
mitted to the child, and which in order to fulfil its 
end, must never be reduced to mere mechanical 
processes, what the educational psychologist has 
to make clear to his students are the principles 
involved in the formation of the various systems 
of knowledge, i.e. the principles underlying their 
construction, and the purposes or ends which 
they may hereafter serve. These systems vary 
according to the principles by which they are con- 
structed and the ends or purposes which they 
may serve. We build up systems of knowledge 
in order that we may realize varying ends — the 
nature of these ends and their relative values carry 
us beyond Psychology proper and imply a refer- 
ence to the social value which from time to time is 
placed upon the various branches of knowledge. 
In a concluding lecture we shall endeavour to 
point out (i) the nature of these systems ; (2) the 
psychological factors involved in their formation, 
and (3) their value in realizing the social purposes 
of life. 


Let me summarize the main conclusions of this 
lecture and indicate certain inferences which may 
be drawn therefrom : — 

1. The Psychology of value to Education is 
that which attempts to give an account of mental 
development as a gradual adopting and fixing in 
of systems of means for the attainment of ends. 
The systems which have to do with the control 
of the body and of the various bodily organs are 
gradually fixed in and stored in the nervous struc- 
ture as a series of motor mechanisms. Systems 
which have to do with the satisfaction of other 
and remoter needs are stored up as a series 
or system of independent recollections which, if 
they are to function efficiently, never become 

2. In the understanding of the process of men- 
tal development the psychologist must give an 
account of the instinctive needs from which these 
adaptations start and the final purpose which is 
sought to be attained by them. The understand- 
ing of these instinctive needs is necessary in order 
to comprehend the motives from which we act, 
and this is further necessary in order to compre- 
hend the working of a social group as well as to 
understand the incentives which lie behind the 
acquisition of all knowledge. 

3. The business of the educational psychologist 


is to give an account of how the school society 
differs from other social groupings ; the motives 
or incentives to action that there prevail and 
wherein and how they differ in their range and 
intensity from their operation in other social 
groups. The consideration of these problems 
involves an understanding of how the school may 
prepare for service hereafter in the larger society 
of the State, and, of course, covers the field of 
moral education. 

4. His second duty is to undertake a specific 
investigation of the motor mechanisms which it is 
the business of the school to establish, e.g. he 
must give a special account of the psychological 
processes involved in the teaching of arts such 
as those of writing and reading. Thereafter he 
must undertake to give an account of the psycho- 
logical processes involved in the acquisition and 
organization of those experiences which are re- 
tained as systems of independent recollections, 
i.e. he must give an account of the processes 
involved, e.g., in the formation of a number 
system, of a spatial and of a causal system of 

5. The work of the master or lecturer on 
Method is to show how in accordance with the 
psychological principles laid down, the various 
school subjects must be adapted at each stage to 


aid and not to hinder the development of the 
mind ; to point out the special difficulties arising 
out of the irrational nature of the subject-matter, 
and how they may be overcome ; and to see 
that the general principles laid down in the lec- 
ture-room are embodied in the practice of the 

6. There must be some degree of uniformity 
between the three sets of workers and some 
consistency in their various methods. To take 
an extreme example, it will never do for the psy- 
chologist to give an account of the mental life, 
using the mechanical psychology of Herbart : 
for the educational psychologist to interpret his 
specific problems in terms of a teleological psy- 
chologist ; and for the lecturer on Method to 
use the faculty Psychology in his adaptation of 
school subjects to the problems of mental develop- 

7. Unless there is some uniformity between the 
three sets of workers, then there never can be ac- 
quired a systematic body of knowledge which may 
be used in bettering school methods. What is 
likely to happen, when this is neglected, is that the 
student acquires a store of disjointed knowledge 
which is useless for all practical purposes. 






Before entering upon a discussion of the topics 
reserved for to-day's lecture, viz. the nature of 
the various systems of knowledge which it is 
the business of the educator, whether parent or 
teacher, to transmit to the pupil : the principles 
which underlie the construction of these systems, 
and the social purposes which the various branches 
of knowledge or of race experience are meant 
to realize, may I be allowed to turn back and to 
answer certain questions which have been put to 
me, or have arisen out of the problems treated in 
the former lectures. 

In the first place, it has been asserted that it is 
not sufficient to indicate the true method of study- 
ing Psychology in its relation to education ; it is 
also necessary to demonstrate how other methods 
are wrong. Now, it has already been laid down 
(i) that for the student of Education the study of 
the problems of mental development should, in the 



first place, be undertaken for their own sake, and, 
thereafter, in their relation to educational practice ; 
it was further maintained, that, whilst there is no 
problem of Psychology, nor any method of at- 
tacking such problems which may not be of value 
to the educator ; yet, it was asserted that the 
problems to be selected, as well as the method of 
approach to the subject, should be largely deter- 
mined by the use or purpose which the knowledge 
gained is hereafter to serve, or, in other words, 
by the need or interest which is intended, on the 
one hand, to be satisfied, or, on the other, to be 
realized. That the student, and especially the 
young student of Education, should in the be- 
ginning make his approach to the problems of 
Psychology in the way most valuable for the 
after study of education is important, for, at 
least, two reasons. A wrong attitude adopted 
at the outset may bias not only the nature of the 
problems selected for treatment, but may also 
result in establishing a wrong, or, at least, a one- 
sided method of attacking psychological problems ; 
a method which may, moreover, prove of small 
value in the solution of the problems, the real and 
practical problems of Education. 

In order to elucidate this topic, let us note 
the three well-known, and generally recognized 
methods of attacking or of approaching the solu- 


tion of psychological questions ; and let us con- 
sider what are or are likely to be the consequences 
to educational theory of the adoption of this or 
that method. 

The three methods of approach are (i)^the 
metaphysical, or rather the epistemological ; (2) 
the scientific or physiological ; and (3) the bio- 
logical or practical method. In the first-named 
method, the interest and need at work is specula- 
tive, or theoretical, and the problem to be solved 
is how knowledge in general is possible, and, in 
particular, how are we to explain the fact that 
the mind in its construction of knowledge either 
makes use of, or seems to make use of certain 
universal and necessary principles of connexion. 
The whole history of English psychology, down 
almost to the present day, has been more or less 
influenced by this method of approaching the 
study. Locke, e.g., begins his task by stating 
that his purpose is to inquire into the "original, 
certainty, and extent of human knowledge," and 
his negative aim was, as you all know, to demon- 
strate that the mind possesses no innate ideas, 
but that all knowledge comes "by way of sensa- 
tion and reflection thereupon ". Berkeley's main 
purpose, again, is to disprove the materialism which 
he seems to see lurking in Locke's account of 
mental development. Hume, following a similar 


method, destroys Berkeley's thesis of a spiritual 
substance or self, and leaves us with an account 
of mental growth which paves the way for a pure 
scepticism as regards any certainty in knowledge. 
We also find the same or similar methods em- 
ployed by the Mills and Herbert Spencer. Simi- 
larly as regards the development of German 
psychology : it was at its beginning, and indeed 
for long after, determined by the epistemological 
method of approach. This was the interest that 
determined the activity of Kant and his immedi- 
ate successors. Nor is Herbart an exception ; his 
approach to the study of Psychology was deter- 
mined by his metaphysical position. Having 
laid 'down that the soul was a simple real, in 
essence unchangeable, it consequently followed 
that all appearance of change must be traced 
to the ideas and their behaviour to one another. 
From this follows his mechanical interpretation 
of mental growth, and his explanation of feel- 
ing and conation in terms of the reactions of 

But our interest is not in the results for a theory 
of knowledge which such a method of approach in- 
volves, but with its influence upon our educational 
outlook. Now, this method of approach tends to 
begin with, and to over-emphasize the contents of 
the adult mind, and to employ solely or mainly 


analytical methods of inquiry, i.e. it begins with 
the fully formed contents of the adult mind and 
proceeds by way of analysis to group its constitu- 
ents according to perceived likenesses or unlike- 
nesses. But the method in Psychology which 
is of value to Education is quite different. We 
must begin with the contents of the child's mind 
and must endeavour to trace the various stages 
through which it passes until the fully formed 
stage is reached. As a consequence, the method 
of value for educational theory is not the analytic, 
but the genetic, i.e. the method which endeavours 
to show or to demonstrate how the lower stages 
gradually evolve into the higher. But the epis- 
temological way of approach not only determines 
the methods of investigation employed, but also the 
nature of the subjects selected for treatment. 
Since the interest at the beginning is in the solu- 
tion of the problem of knowledge — its origin, cer- 
tainty, and extent — mental development tends to 
be explained wholly from the cognitive side, and 
as a consequence, the problems of knowledge re- 
ceive the chief share of attention, to the neglect 
of the study of the affective and conative factors 
of the mental life. 

From the educational point of view this method 
of approach to the problems of Psychology is 
wrong, and that mainly for two reasons. Since 


all such investigations are undertaken to satisfy 
a purely speculative or theoretical interest, (i) 
the relation of knowledge to practice tends to be 
neglected, or, at least, obscured, and (2) the pro- 
blems which come to be selected for discussion 
are those which bear for or against the theoretical 
or speculative interest in question. In Education, 
on the other hand, our interest is practical, not 
theoretical. We seek to know and to understand 
the nature of mental development in order that 
we may better guide educational practice. And 
this practical attitude should determine the nature 
of the problems which receive the main attention 
of the student whose interest lies in the betterment 
of educational methods and organization. It 
makes little difference to him, e.g., whether with 
Kant he assumes that space is a perceptual and 
subjective form, common to all minds ; or whether, 
with Newton, he postulates that space has an ob- 
jective existence as well as a subjective. It is 
sufficient for him to know and to understand the 
methods by which the mind attains to an exact 
knowledge of form, of position, and distance, i.e. 
his interest is not in the ultimate problem but 
in the more immediate problem of how a per- 
ception of the properties of space arises and how 
such knowledge may aid in the development and 
betterment of practice, 


The second method of approach to the study 
of mental phenomena is the scientific. Now, 
since science endeavours to frame its interpre- 
tations in terms of causation, and since again on 
the mental side, we find, search where we will, 
no part or portion of experience which can be 
fully explained in terms of the scientific doctrines 
of universal causation and of the conservation of 
energy, it follows that by this method of approach, 
we inevitably tend to reduce Psychology to physi- 
ology, and that we endeavour to explain all mental 
phenomena by reference to the physiological con- 
ditions which may be assumed to be concomitantly 
present. Now, the great value to education of 
recent inquiries into the physiological conditions 
determining mental development, we fully admit ; 
and moreover, no lecturer on Psychology to stu- 
dents of Education can afford to neglect in his 
teaching of the subject, results such as may be 
found in, say, McDougall's " Physiological Psy- 
chology ". The physiological theory of lower and 
higher brain centres each developing at differ- 
ent rates, and reaching their full development at 
different periods ; the neuron theory of sensori- 
motor action ; the drainage theory of inhibition 
are all valuable in aiding the student to realize 
pictorially, or in imagination, what may take place 
on the physiological side when perception issues 


in action, or is hindered from so doing by the 
arousal of an inhibiting system of ideas. Such a 
method of approach, however, for the student of 
Education seems to me a wrong one, at least at 
the beginning of the study. Once the student 
has formed a body of knowledge on the subject, 
every method of inquiry will or should throw light 
on the subject, and, moreover, every student who 
manifests a real and genuine interest in the in- 
vestigation of mental problems, should be en- 
couraged to study these by every method of 
approach. Within the walls of a University, there 
is room, not merely for one teacher, or for one 
method of attack, but for all three. And every 
fully equipped University endeavours to secure 
the discussion of mental problems from the three 
above-named points of view. 

But for the young student of Education, the 
method of approach should not be the scientific, 
but the biological and practical, and this for various 
reasons. Let me state the two of most importance. 
In the first place, the teacher's aim is to guide, and 
to regulate the acquisition and organization of ex- 
perience, and the physiological factors determin- 
ing this process are largely beyond the control 
of the educator, whereas, on the other hand, the 
mental factors are subject to his control. It 
therefore follows that the knowledge of most im- 


portance to him is concerned with the psycho- 
logical, and not with the physiological factors in 
the development of the mind. In the second 
place, however much we may desire and yearn 
after the day when Psychology may be reduced 
to a science, yet the consummation of this aim 
would be fatal to the spirit of all true teaching. 
For to become a science, the explanations of 
Psychology must be reduced to mechanical terms, 
and this could only be effected, either by the 
whole of mental development being explained in 
terms of a Psychology such as Herbart's, or in 
the full explanation of the whole mental life being 
found in the physiological concomitants. In both 
cases we should have a deterministic and fatalistic 
result. This would, it seems to me, tend to destroy 
the very nerve of all our educational efforts, and 
it would be unfortunate, if the young student of 
Education should, at the outset, receive a bias 
towards a method of explanation which is not the 
one best suited to rouse an enthusiasm and interest 
in his life work. Moreover, educational theory 
never remains wholly or solely on a positive and 
scientific ground, but it moves, at times, from a 
positive to a normative and critical attitude. For, 
since its business is with the endeavour to realize 
certain consciously conceived aims, one of the 
duties of a theory of Education is to determine 


the relative values of the methods by which these 
aims may be attained. 

Let me illustrate these two positions. 

In the formation of a habit — of, say, a so-called 
secondarily automatic action — we may from the 
physiological side represent its gradual establish- 
ment, either, as a way in which by successive re- 
petitions, a trace or track is worn out between two 
points in the nervous structure of the brain, or, 
as in the modern theory, we may explain it, as 
the way in which a least resistance path is estab- 
lished, again by successive repetitions, between 
the sensory and motor termini of a system of 
neurones. Now, both methods of explanation 
are merely pictorial or figurative ; one drawn by 
analogy from what takes place when a stream 
gradually makes and deepens a new channel for 
itself : the other by an analogy drawn from the 
behaviour of the electric current as it passes 
through space from one end of a conducting 
body to another. Both metaphors help us to 
picture what may, of course, take place, but they 
give us no aid in the understanding of how to 
set about the establishment of a habit, in that 
they furnish us with no guidance as to how, and 
when we pass from attentive to automatic pro- 
cess. The principle of repetition helps us, as 
Stout has pointed out, to explain how a habit 


works when it is fully established ; it altogether 
fails to explain the formation of a habit. This 
can only be explained by a consideration of the 
mental factors involved, and, in particular, by tak- 
ing into account that habits become established 
through repeated efforts to attain similar ends of 
felt value to the individual. 

As regards the second statement that the 
position of educational theory is never purely 
scientific and positive but is often normative and 
critical, we may note that, from the positive side, 
we can explain in psychological terms how such 
a motive as emulation works in school conduct ; 
we condemn its excessive use, not because it 
violates any psychological law or principle, but 
because it tends to produce a type of individual 
which for certain reasons we think undesirable. 
Similarly, we can explain on positive grounds 
how the mere mechanical memory works, but 
we condemn its excessive use, because it tends to 
the non-production of such mental qualities as 
alertness and initiative, which we may think it 
desirable for a system of Education to produce. 
Moreover and generally, psychology, as positive, 
attempts to explain the mental workings of a 
Borgia as well as the motives which incite a 
Howard to reform the prison system of England. 
Finally, so long as we assume that freedom in 


however small a degree is a possession of man, 
then, so long, must we maintain that the reduction 
of the mental life to a purely mechanical and 
scientific basis is impossible. 

Thus, and by another way, we again reach 
the conclusion that, and especially at the outset, 
the method of approach for the student of Edu- 
cation to psychological problems should be the 
biological and practical. For the keyword in 
this method of interpretation is ''adjustment," 
and the business of the educator is first to 
adjust, and that largely by means of the forma- 
tion of habits, the child to his physical environ- 
ment, and thereafter by means of the transmission 
of the inherited knowledge to his spiritual en- 
vironment as it has come down to us embodied 
in the arts, the literatures, the sciences, and the 
institutions of civilization. This attitude, more- 
over, determines not only what should be the 
dominant method of approach, but it also furnishes 
the criterion as to the problems which are of 
main interest to the psychologist whose business 
is the development of educational method. 

The second question which I have been asked, 
is as regards the qualifications of the lecturer on 
the Psychology of Education, and as to the pre- 
cise place he should occupy in guiding the 


methods of Education. In the first place, a lec- 
turer on the Psychology of Education must make 
it his business to understand and to become 
acquainted with all the methods of approaching 
psychological problems, and with the limitations 
which any and every method place upon their 
solutions and interpretations. All methods may 
throw light upon educational problems, and the 
lecturer on the subject, as distinguished from the 
student, as a beginner, must be able to bring and 
to focus the knowledge derived from every source 
upon his practical treatment of the problems. 
But with this and this alone he would only be 
half equipped. The other and equally important 
condition is that he have a knowledge (1) of 
actual school conditions, and (2) of the social 
aims or purposes which the adult portion of the 
community seeks consciously to realize by means 
of the school agencies which they have estab- 
lished. It is from these two sources that the 
real problems of educational Psychology arise. 
Many errors in the past might have been avoided ; 
many faults of the present might be amended 
were we clearly to realize the fact that guidance 
must be sought from the Psychology of Educa- 
tion as to the adequacy of any suggested means 
to produce a desired result. We should never, 
e.g., have fallen into the error of supposing that 



the mere acquisition of the motor mechanisms of 
reading and writing in themselves could ever 
produce the social results intended by the estab- 
lishment of our elementary school system ; that, 
in short, we must not only teach a child how 
to read but also what to read, and that the main 
reason for the acquirement of the art is that it 
may become the medium by which the individual 
is put into possession of his literary, his scientific, 
and his institutional inheritance. But, in this 
connexion, what I particularly wish to say is that 
the lecturer on the Psychology of Education must 
keep himself in close touch with the work of the 
schools, and with the practice of the various 
masters of method. It is from the latter that he 
derives his particular problems, as it is to the 
latter he must look for the practical application 
of the methods laid down in the lecture-room. 
Let me give you an illustration from another and 
analogous sphere. The system of medical exam- 
ination and inspection lately instituted in this 
country which insists that every child shall be 
medically examined at entrance upon his school 
life, and at regular periods thereafter, is a great 
advance on former practice, and will, no doubt, 
result in much good. Meanwhile, it has brought 
home to the teacher and to others the fact that a 
large part of the energy of the school may be thrown 


away or wasted through the presence of physio- 
logical defects. But its full benefit will be at- 
tained only when the medical officer of the school 
is brought in from time to time to aid the teacher 
in the solution of the health problems of the 
school. A somewhat similar relationship must 
be established between the lecturer on Psycho- 
logy and the master of Method. They must 
understand the difficulties which school method 
and school organization produce, and the nature 
of the problems which arise within a school so- 
ciety, and must conjointly and co-operatively aid 
each other in their solution. 

The third, and perhaps the most important, 
question is as to the place of observational and 
experimental psychology in the training of the 
teacher. Between observation and experimen- 
tation, here as elsewhere, there is, of course, only 
a difference of degree, and not of kind. But 
there are certain dangers and difficulties in ex- 
perimental psychology which are peculiar to the 
study and are inherent in its subject-matter. In 
the first place, we cannot directly observe the 
mind of another. What we do observe is a 
certain kind of outward behaviour, and from 
this, on the analogy of our own experience, we 
infer that certain mental factors are operative. 



As a consequence, the greater the distance or 
difference between the observing and the ob- 
served mind, the greater is the liability to error 
in our interpretations. Even to make an approxi- 
mation to a true inference, the observer must 
himself have frequent practice in analysing and 
comparing his own mental states. This power 
of accurately introspecting one's own mental life 
is more or less a gift, and is not to be encouraged 
with certain types of mind, since it may lead to a 
morbid tendency being established. The intro- 
spective attitude is found dominant in minds of a 
strongly mystical and religious bent. Manifestly 
from want of practice, as well as from want of 
experience, the young student is liable both to 
make errors in observation as well as in infer- 
ence. The best training in this direction, at 
least as a preliminary, is to ask the student to 
analyse carefully his own mental processes when 
he has attempted, say, unsuccessfully to solve 
some problem, or when he has passed through 
some particular and peculiar kind of experience. 
Otherwise any observation of children which he 
may make is liable both, as I have already 
pointed out, to observational and inferential error. 
Moreover, no sound basis for observation is 
possible until the student has a body of know- 
ledge of the principles of mental development and 


their outward manifestations, from which to infer 
or to correct his observations. Medical men are 
all aware how difficult it often is to infer accur- 
ately, from the bodily symptoms manifested, the 
nature of the particular disease present. It is 
much more difficult to infer from similar signs the 
presence of elusive mental facts. 

The second difficulty of observation and ex- 
perimentation, especially with children, is that 
once they perceive that they are being observed, 
or experimented upon, for a definite purpose, they 
are liable, so to speak, to play up to the observer, 
and, as a result, they falsify the evidence. Even 
in the case of the adult, this is not uncommon, 
and it is extremely difficult to purge the observa- 
tion of mental phenomena from subjective errors 
of this kind. Similar errors are to be found in 
the " questionnaire " method. Here, also, in many 
cases, the children are tempted to answer what 
they think will please the questioner. These 
dangers are increased when children are separ- 
ately observed or experimented upon, for, at 
once, by such a method the child is placed in 
an unnatural position, and this alters his whole 
mental tone, and unconsciously determines the 
trend of his mental processes. Hence, it seems 
to me, the best time for observation is when it 
can be done under natural and normal conditions, 


and when the pupils are unaware that they are 
being observed or experimented upon for a direct 

The third difficulty or danger lies in, or is due 
to the fact that in the recalling of the mental 
experience through which an individual may pass, 
everything depends upon the accuracy and the 
trustworthiness of the observer. Hence, it follows 
that real experiments in Psychology, in which the 
observer endeavours accurately to record his ex- 
perience, are not possible, as a rule, with children, 
but must be confined to adults, e.g. we may 
measure the power of attention of an individual 
by determining the amount of distraction which 
ensues upon the setting up of a powerful organic 
disturbance ; but for the success of such an ex- 
periment, we must be assured that the individual 
experimented upon is playing the game fairly, and 
that his own account of the experience passed 
through is accurate. 

Again the analogy of medical experience is 
valuable. Every doctor knows how difficult it 
is in many cases, and especially with persons of 
an uneducated or of immature mind, to rely upon 
the testimony of the patient as to the accuracy of 
the symptoms felt and to be quite sure that the 
description is free from all subjective prejudice, 
or subjective preference. Similar difficulties, but 


much greater, present themselves in the de- 
scription of mental states and mental processes. 
Hence, it seems to me, that in Psychology as in 
other sciences, real genuine observation and ex- 
perimental work which is undertaken either to 
solve a real problem, or, to locate a definite diffi- 
culty, or, to support a hypothesis, can only be 
undertaken under two conditions. In the first 
place, the observer or experimenter must have a 
competent knowledge of the subject with which 
he is concerned, and, secondly, he must have 
undergone a thorough and practical training in 
the methods of experimental and observational 
psychology. Manifestly, such real observation 
and experimentation can only be done by an ad- 
vanced student, and we must rely upon such for 
any new knowledge which may be of value to the 
educator. At the same time, in order to make 
the study of Psychology real to the teacher stu- 
dent, there is no objection to giving him some 
training in the simpler methods of observation 
and experiment, provided he realizes that any 
inferences which he draws therefrom are not im- 
mutable truths, but only certain tentative sug- 
gestions which may be useful to him in under- 
standing differences in the mental behaviour of 


Just as in our teaching of school hygiene, all we 
can hope to do is to give the student some intelli- 
gent knowledge of the main principles of the sub- 
ject, and to give him practice in using the simpler 
tests for noting visual or other sense defects ; so 
likewise in the teaching of psychology to teacher 
students, all we can expect to do is to give them 
an account of the main principles governing and 
determining mental development and to give 
them practice in using the simpler tests by which 
they may, in a rough and general way, distinguish 
differences in perceptual discrimination, or in 
mental power and initiative between children. A 
beginning has been made in the provision of such 
tests, such as, e.g., those of the French psycholo- 
gist, Binet, but we are only, so to speak, at the 
empirical stage of such a provision. Much requires 
still to be done, and meanwhile we must be on 
our guard in the application of such or similar 
tests against conceiving of them as ultimate and 
final criteria by which the intellectual powers of 
any child, or any class of children, can be certainly 
and surely determined. 

Coming now to the consideration of the prob- 
lems as to the nature and purpose of the various 
bodies or branches of knowledge which it is our 
business to transmit to the young as their rightful 


inheritance, here, again, it seems to me, the one 
thing necessary for the student of education is to 
realize the true inner and essential purpose of all 
knowledge. Any and every department of know- 
ledge arises and becomes established in order 
to satisfy some human need and to realize some 
human interest. In this broad sense, then, all 
studies are humanities, since all have sprung 
from human needs or to satisfy human aspira- 
tions. These needs and interests are funda- 
mentally the same to-day as when they first 
arose. They have, no doubt, in the long march 
of time, deepened in intent, and widened in ex- 
tent. Hence the various branches of knowledge 
are none of them, in any sense, dead. For, 
in order that they may fulfil their purpose in ad- 
justing the child to his environment, they must 
be livingly assimilated by the child. Whenever 
the educator forgets this fact then two tendencies 
arise. In the first place, he tends to assume that 
any knowledge is to be imparted to the pupil as 
a more or less useful piece of information, and, in 
the second place, he tends to assume that the true 
method of adapting the knowledge to the mind 
of the child is the logical, beginning with the 
seemingly simple and passing from thence to the 
complex. But, once we grasp the true signifi- 
cance of knowledge, viz. that its acquisition is 


never an end in itself, but always a means to an 
end ; that it is always instrumental in satisfying or 
furthering an interest, and a human interest, then 
we shall realize that the adaptation of the sub- 
ject-matter should follow the order in which a 
need or interest gradually and progressively at- 
tains its realization ; that is, our methods will be 
adapted to the psychological needs of the child 
and will progress by slow stages to the logical 
needs of the youth and the adult. Further, 
methods which secure that all knowledge im- 
parted, is livingly assimilated by the pupil, are the 
only methods which can be successful in building 
up character. Bergson has vividly depicted the 
results of an education which appeals to the mere 
memory and not to the judgment ; of an educa- 
tion which lays stress on the acquisition of know- 
ledge merely retained but never assimilated, 
never made a part of the living tissue of the 
self in the realization of its felt aims. By such a 
method of education, Bergson declares that we 
gradually establish within the fundamental self a 
parasitic self which continuously encroaches upon 
the other, until at length and finally we become 
the slave of the parasite. We become the slave 
and not the master of our knowledge. Hence, 
sound method in Education springs from the 
realization of the fact that all knowledge must 


become a part of a living experience, and it 
can become so only when the knowledge im- 
parted is perceived to be instrumental in satis- 
fying a human need and in realizing a human 

The second part of this topic, viz. the principles 
of connexion which bind together the various de- 
partments of knowledge, must be briefly treated. 
Since human needs vary, so, in like manner, the 
means requisite for their realization also vary, 
and with these variations we find corresponding 
differences in the principles of connexion be- 
tween the means. A simple illustration will 
bring out these differences in the various systems 
of knowledge. In, say, the teaching of geogra- 
phy, we may build up one or other, or all, of 
three systems. We may, e.g., by direct presen- 
tation, or by description, build up a knowledge 
of what a cape, a river, etc., are. Such a system 
of knowledge builds up a number of class con- 
cepts, and the only use or purpose to which such 
knowledge can be applied is the further recogni- 
tion of similar instances. In the second place, we 
may go further and build up a relational system 
of knowledge, of such a kind that the pupil is 
furnished with a knowledge of how direction is 
determined, and distance marked off, and how 


these may be graphically represented on a plane 
surface, such as a map. This, of course, is a 
higher system of knowledge than the first-named, 
since it can be used for other purposes than mere 
recognition. In the third place, we may build 
up a causal relational system. This we do 
whenever we endeavour, e.g., to ascertain the 
geographical conditions which in part, at least, 
determine the distribution of a people, and the 
localization of the industries within any given 
geographical area. Now, it is the business of 
the educational theorist clearly to realize the 
psychological factors involved in the formation 
of these various systems, just as it is the duty 
of the teacher clearly to realize which and when 
any one of these aims should dominate his geo- 
graphical teaching. 

But I must rest content with this mere indica- 
tion of the nature of the problems which arise 
from the various ways in which systems of know- 
ledge may be constructed, and must leave it to 
yourselves to work out the various implications 
and consequences involved. Its full working out 
would require a consideration of how the ideal 
of knowledge has varied from time to time, and 
this would demand an examination of the history 
of such ideals. Meanwhile, such an undertaking 
must be postponed. 


In conclusion, what I should wish you all to 
realize is that the present system of training 
teachers in this country is on its trial, and that, 
sooner or later, it will have to go through a 
period of stress and criticism. Even at the pres- 
ent time, there are certain signs that a storm is 
impending. Whether the present system will be 
successful in turning out a better teacher than the 
old, rests largely, if not solely, on the work of 
those engaged in the professional training of the 
students. It depends not so much upon those 
who have the external control of the system, but 
upon you. The former, necessarily, can only 
view an organization, such as now exists, from 
the outside, and, as a consequence, they often 
hinder rather than help any new development. 
For its success or failure we must rely upon the 
lecturers on Education and the allied sciences, 
and upon the various masters of Method, who 
perceive its true inwardness, and who have to 
work with the living material placed under their 
care. Success here, as elsewhere, can only be 
attained by having a clear vision of the ends 
desired, and by the hearty and loyal co-opera- 
tion of each and all in their realization. If this 
new system tends to produce alert and active- 
minded men and women, keen to realize the 
great duties placed upon them in the education 


of the children of the nation, and alert to see 
whatever may tend to better educational methods, 
or to improve the organization of our schools, 
then it will be a success, and with full confidence 
I leave the final result in your hands. 




In selecting as the subject of my address this 
evening " The Child and the Curriculum," I have 
been guided mainly by two reasons. In the first 
place any and every problem of educational 
method involves this two-fold relation, and it is 
only by clearly realizing the organic connexion 
between these two correlative parts of every edu- 
cational question that we can really arrive at 
any clear and genuine solution of the problem. 
For if, on the one hand, we emphasize the 
claims of the curriculum and neglect the claims 
of the child, we are bound sooner or later to arrive 
at a thoroughly unsatisfactory and one-sided con- 
ception of the aims and methods of Education. 
If, on the other hand, we exalt the claims of the 
child's nature to attention ; if we think the par- 
ticular subject-matter of instruction to be a con- 
sideration of little importance, in comparison with 
the development of the nature of the child, then 
we shall also fail to reach a true conception of 

81 6 


the aims and methods of Education, as we shall 
also fail to correlate the child with the civilization 
into which he is born, and through which in after 
life he must realize the varied ends and purposes 
of life. 

In the second place, in spite of the teachings 
of Rousseau, enunciated now nearly a hundred 
and fifty years ago, the emphasis still continues 
to be laid unduly upon the curriculum ; and the 
other and equally important part of the problem, 
viz. the nature of the child to be educated, re- 
ceives often but scant attention. It is true, no 
doubt, that within recent years, both in this 
country and in America, the study of the nature 
of the child has received more and more attention, 
but nevertheless it is correct to affirm that the 
claims of the curriculum still receive the greater 
share of attention, and evoke the larger amount 
of discussion. This one-sided emphasis is, of 
course, inevitable, since the curricula of our schools 
are determined by the adult portion of the com- 
munity, as organized in the various forms of the 
State, the Church, and various voluntary asso- 
ciations of individuals, and as a consequence 
the tendency ever present, both in the framing of 
curricula and in the determination and arrange- 
ment of the various subjects of school instruction, 
is to look at these matters from the point of view 


of the developed self-consciousness of the adult ; 
to consider more the final fruits of the educative 
process than the nature of the process itself; to 
pay little attention to the various stages ok the 
educative process, and to the changing and de- 
veloping nature of the individual to be educated. 
Now, it is always necessary to insist upon the 
fact that education is not merely a matter of 
curricula, but that the study of the nature of the 
being to be educated is no less an essential part 
of every educational problem, and that unless we 
see these two aspects not as two external and 
disparate things, but as two interrelated and or- 
ganic elements of a one problem, we shall fail 
clearly to understand either the aims or the real 
nature of the educative process. 

How the claims of the curriculum have, in the 
past, dominated the methods and procedure of 
education, to the neglect of the consideration of 
the nature of the being to be educated, may be 
illustrated fully from the records of Educational 
History. Let me give you two examples : in 
the best days of the earlier Italian Renaissance, 
as in the best days of the Western revival of 
learning, the study of Latin and Greek was un- 
dertaken as a means to an end ; the end being 

to become acquainted with the civilization of the 



two great nations of antiquity ; moreover this 
study was undertaken not as an end in itself nor 
primarily as a means towards individual self-cul- 
ture, but in order that, knowing the political and 
social conditions of the past, the knowledge 
gained might be utilized in moulding and form- 
ing the social and political ideals of the time. 
But, in the course of development, this ideal grad- 
ually faded from men's sight, and a knowledge 
of the classical tongues became an end in itself, 
or, at best, their acquisition was looked upon 
merely as a means to the self-culture of the in- 
dividual. Now, this divorce of knowledge and its 
acquisition from the social purposes of life had, 
and always must have, a corresponding effect 
upon the aims and methods of the prevailing 
system of education. Amongst the educational 
writers of the earlier period this divorce of know- 
ledge from social purpose was not thought of, 
for to them the aim of education was " to form 
good citizens and useful members of society, cap- 
able of bearing their part with credit alike in 
public and in private life ". As a consequence, 
we find, in the earlier period, great insistence laid 
upon the teacher getting to know accurately the 
particular nature of the boy to be educated and 
of shaping the course of education in such a way 
as to realize to the full all the innate potentialities 


of the individual, i.e. the curriculum was not con- 
sidered as an end in itself, nor as an inflexible 
and unchanging instrument of the same value in 
every particular case, but as a flexible and chang- 
ing instrument which might have to be modified 
and altered to suit varying particular needs. But, 
with the exaltation of the acquisition of the know- 
ledge of the classical tongues as an end in itself, 
we had a corresponding exaltation of the curricu- 
lum as an unchanging and inflexible instrument 
or means, and so for centuries we had imposed 
upon the youth of western Europe a fixed and 
unalterable curriculum — a curriculum which took 
no account of differences either in intellectual 
capacity or in intellectual aptitude amongst its 
various receivers, and a curriculum which in 
many cases had no inherent nor intrinsic con- 
nexion with the real needs of the individual, and 
no organic relation to the social purposes which 
in after life were intended to be realized by the 
education of the youth. Now, whenever this 
condition of things prevails, it follows that the 
whole process of education tends to become to 
the individual boy or girl an alien and an external 
process, i.e. it becomes a process which is not 
and cannot be organically related to the present 
and future needs and purposes of life, and as a 
consequence, in order that knowledge may be 


acquired and practice rendered more efficient, re- 
course must always be made to motives of a 
thoroughly unethical kind. We have only to 
consider the reports of the: severity of the punish- 
ments of the schools of that time, or, to take 
into account the elaborate system of rewards and 
decorations instituted in the Jesuit schools of the 
after-renaissance period, to understand how the 
whole process of education was carried on and 
maintained by methods which depended solely or 
mainly on motives which appealed either to the 
fear of punishment, or to the hope of reward. 

But I think I hear some of you say that 
this happened long ago ; that we know better 
nowadays ; that with the increasing light which 
modern psychology continues to shed upon the 
essential nature of the educative process we are 
not likely again to sacrifice the interests and 
claims of the child to the demands of a rigid and 
inflexible curriculum. This hope is, however, 
fallacious, for one of the ever-prevailing tenden- 
cies in Education is to attach an undue emphasis 
to this or that particular type of curriculum. 

Let me illustrate this tendency by what 
happened in our own day and generation. For 
nearly thirty years, under the system of payment 
by results, we had laid down in the elementary 


education of the children both of England and 
Scotland, an unalterable and fixed curriculum, 
drawn up and imposed upon every child without 
the least heed being taken of the fact that children 
vary as regards general intellectual ability, and 
vary also as regards the direction which intellec- 
tual aptitude may take. Under the old code 
systems of education, each year a certain pro- 
portion of arithmetic, of reading, of geography, of 
history had to be duly imparted to each and 
every child, and the measure of the teacher's 
ability was tested by the success obtained in the 
imparting of the normal amount of yearly infor- 
mation to the greatest number of the pupils. 

Now, in the framing of such a curriculum, and 
in the imposing of it upon the teachers of the 
country, its devisers made four assumptions, or fell 
into four errors. In the first place, in the laying 
down of a rigid and unalterable curriculum of 
this nature, it followed that no account was taken 
of the individual differences existing among chil- 
dren ; the assumption being made that, as a 
general rule, all children are equal in intellectual 
capacity, and further that they advance intellec- 
tually at equal or nearly equal rates. In the 
working out of the scheme, the intelligent teacher, 
it is true, soon became aware of the fallaciousness 
of this assumption, but his hands being tied, he 


was unable to do much to remedy the mistakes 
of his so-called masters. As a practical conse- 
quence, throughout a large part of each year, the 
abler section of the class were merely marking 
time, whilst the duller and more stupid section 
were, often with infinite weariness of body and 
soul, receiving the major portion of the class 
teacher's time and attention. 

In the second place, such a curriculum took no 
account of the varying innate aptitudes of the 
children, of the fact that some children acquire 
more readily and more easily one kind of experi- 
ence than another ; that their inborn nervous 
systems are not equally open and equally acces- 
sible to the reception of all and every kind of 
experience, but that some have a distinct bias in 
one direction, some in another. Here also the 
intelligent teacher soon became aware of the 
unwisdom and error of the framers of education 
by code measurement, but since he had no 
motive impelling him to encourage special apti- 
tude, even when this appeared within the pre- 
scribed subjects, it followed, as a consequence, 
that the interests and the development of the 
child were sacrificed to the demands of the cur- 
riculum. Moreover, if any child happened to 
possess an aptitude not embraced by the curri- 
culum, then it was none of the teacher's business 


to encourage its manifestation, and so the child's 
development suffered through neglect. 

In the third place, any laying down of a fixed, 
an unalterable, and an inflexible curriculum tq be 
imposed upon each and every pupil, entirely mis- 
conceives the essential nature of a curriculum and 
the purpose of the subjects embraced under it, 
and utterly misunderstands the true place of a 
scheme of instruction in the educative process. 

Under a scheme of instruction such as we 
are now considering, the various subjects of 
school instruction were taken to be more or less 
completed products, and the fact tended to be 
neglected that these so-called subjects of instruc- 
tion have grown up in order to satisfy human 
needs ; that they are the slowly elaborated and 
gradually established experiences of the race, ac- 
quired in order that they may serve as means in 
the attainment of ends, and that, apart from the 
ends which they subserve as means, they are, 
and can be nothing else to the child, or to the 
adult, but masses of dead, lifeless, and unin- 
teresting information. This is a truth which ever 
needs to be enforced upon the teacher, viz. that 
the various branches of school instruction are 
simply the many varieties of race experience ori- 
ginally acquired in order that they might subserve 
some interest and purpose of the individual life, 


and that if they are to become living and real to 
the child, they must be organically related to the 
present or to the future prospective needs of the 

From this misconception a fourth error resulted. 
Since the subjects of school instruction as classi- 
fied are the products of the experience of the ages, 
and not of the experience of the child, and since 
this latter fact always tends to be neglected, it 
followed that the logical order of proceeding from 
the seemingly simple to the complex became the 
fundamental principle in arranging the subject- 
matter of instruction at the various stages. The 
logical order in the development of the subject, 
instead of the psychological order, became to the 
teacher the guide to method. In other words, 
knowledge and its acquisition was looked upon 
from the point of view of the developed self-con- 
sciousness of the adult. The mind of the child, 
if it received any attention at all, was considered 
to be a miniature form of the adult consciousness. 
It was forgotten that the interests of the child and 
of the youth are not necessarily the same as those 
of the adult, differing only in degree and inten- 
sity. It was seldom realized that they may and 
do differ in kind. Even yet how many teachers 
ever realize that the youth of sixteen or seventeen 
i$ not simply an enlarged edition of the boy of 


twelve, and that between the two periods a whole 
world of new emotions have emerged, and at the 
former age may be dominating the direction of 
his thoughts and determining the nature of J:he 
things claiming his attention. 

A curriculum, then, which is to be living, which 
is to be organic to the needs of the child and to 
the after social purposes of life for which his edu- 
cation must somehow or other fit him, must take 
into account the fact that children differ the one 
from the other in general intellectual capacity ; 
that they also differ in the direction which 
intellectual aptitude may take, and must, there- 
fore, be elastic enough to satisfy differing indi- 
vidual needs and to serve in the attainment of 
differing social purposes. Further, in the fram- 
ing of curricula we must remember that the 
various branches of instruction are simply various 
divisions of race experience, and that they are 
imparted to the child in order that they may 
hereafter serve as systems of means in the attain- 
ment of ends of definite social worth. Moreover, 
it must ever be kept in mind that the curriculum 
is instrumental to the development of the child, 
and that its subject-matter must be so arranged 
and presented that at every stage of education 
it assists and does not hinder the full and free 


development of all the potentialities of the in- 
dividual's nature, e.g. the arts of reading and 
of writing have been slowly elaborated and es- 
tablished as systems of means, in answer to the 
demands of certain instinctive needs of human 
nature and for the attainment of certain social 
purposes. We transmit these race experiences, 
by short-cut methods no doubt, to the child in 
order that they may, in the present, and in the 
future, function as systems of means in the attain- 
ment of ends similar in nature to those by which 
they were first acquired and first established in 
the history of the race. What is true of the ele- 
mentary arts is true throughout the whole field of 
knowledge and throughout the entire process 
of education. The acquisition of knowledge is 
never and ought never to be an end in itself. Its 
acquisition is a means to an end, and the nature 
of the ends sought is and must always be the 
realization of some social purpose. Finally, we 
must beware of falling into the schoolmaster's 
error of conceiving of the studies of the school 
and their acquisition as a means to ends of merely 
secondary importance, such, e.g. as the passing of 
certain examinations, or the obtaining of some 
material reward extrinsically connected with the 
knowledge acquired. The true function of a cur- 
riculum is to aid in the development of the pupil 


by transmitting to him some portion of the estab- 
lished experience of the ages, in order that he 
may hereafter utilize these experiences in the 
realization of ends of value and of social value, 
and to transmit these experiences by such methods 
that he will be enabled of himself and by himself 
to understand the principles by which knowledge 
is gradually acquired and gradually organized. 

But, whilst the ever-prevailing tendency is to 
exalt the claims and demands of the curriculum 
at the expense of the child ; to neglect the present 
interests and tendencies of his nature in order to 
put him more quickly into possession of the means 
for the realization of the social purposes of after 
life ; to discount the present for the sake of the 
future ; yet the danger of exalting the claims of 
the child at the expense of the curriculum is no 
less real. This danger is imminent whenever we 
fall into the fallacy of considering that a " child of a 
given age has a positive equipment of purposes and 
interests to be cultivated just as they stand ". This 
is the error which underlies the whole educational 
theory of Rousseau, and which vitiated much of 
the practice of Pestalozzi. For Rousseau, what 
satisfied and furthered the present interests and 
inclinations of the child, was the only guide in 
educational method, and the only index to what 


could and should be assimilated by the child. 
And although the danger of too closely following 
the present interests of the child is not a danger 
which meets us in the school education of our 
times, yet the error is of frequent occurrence in the 
private and home education of many children. 

Now, to commit this error is to misinterpret 
the real nature of an interest. An interest is an 
attitude towards possible experience, is a motive 
impelling the child towards the acquisition of this 
or that particular kind of experience. True, any 
present interest may be utilized in the acquisition 
of knowledge which subserves some present or 
immediate need of the child's life, but its true 
purpose in Education is to serve as motive and 
propelling force in the acquisition of knowledge 
which may hereafter serve as means in the fulfil- 
ment of purposes of social worth to the individual 
and to the community. To follow out and to 
satisfy present interest, present inclination, as ends 
worthy in themselves of attainment, will and must 
result in the individual hereafter being unfitted, 
or badly fitted, to perform the services which 
society requires, and rightly requires, of its indi- 
vidual members. By such a method and system 
of Education we, in short, sacrifice the curriculum 
which always embodies, it may be imperfectly 
and one-sidedly, the social aims and purposes 


which Education is intended to realize — to the 
claims of the individual and to his demand that 
he shall be allowed to develop his nature without 
reference to the social demands of the community. 

More particularly, to take the present interests 
of the infant, of the child, or of the youth as 
something finally significant in themselves, and 
to be furthered and satisfied just as they stand, 
is the radical error of the extreme exponents of 

Were the development of the child similar in 
nature to that of the young of animals, then the 
furtherance of present interest would be the true 
method of Education, for, in this case, the emerg- 
ing of any interest would indicate the emerging 
and ripening of an instinct, would indicate the 
coming into activity of an inherited and an innate 
system of means destined, when full maturity had 
been reached, to further the attainment of an end 
inherent in the nature of the individual. But, as 
we shall hereafter see, child nature and animal 
nature, although at certain stages they present 
many similarities, are radically different in kind. 
Hence, in Education, the present interests of the 
child may be utilized in two ways by the teacher. 
They may serve as motives by which the child is 
led to the acquisition of knowledge either of pres- 
ent or of future worth, and they may, nay, they 


must be utilized as the basis upon which acquired 
interests of worth to the individual and to the 
community must be built, e.g. in early life, the 
instincts of curiosity, of imitation, of emulation, 
and the various forms of the play instinct are 
ever inciting the child to action, ever impelling 
him to acquire new experience that shall issue 
in the more efficient performance of future action. 
At a later stage other instinctive tendencies make 
their appearance and serve as motives in the fur- 
ther acquisition of new experiences. But as the 
child passes from infancy to youth and manhood, 
these instinctive tendencies, although ever pres- 
ent, alter their character, and acquired ends or 
interests become the motives to action. 

But these acquired interests are not something 
created out of nothing; they are grafted upon 
and arise out of the innate and inherited instinc- 
tive tendencies of human nature. Thus, the 
instinct of mere self-preservation may pass into 
the desire to attain a certain standard of life or 
to maintain a certain social status : the instinct 
of curiosity into the desire to find out and sys- 
tematize knowledge for its own sake. 

Hence instead of, on the one hand, exalting 
the demands of the curriculum and neglecting 
the present interests of the child as motive forces 
in the attainment of the social aims of education, 


and, on the other hand, of exalting the present 
interests and inclinations to the detriment of 
furthering the final purpose of the educative 
process, we must endeavour to perceive and to 
realize that present interest and final aim are but 
the beginning and end of a one fundamental 

In order to make this clear, let us consider 
briefly, the two factors in their separation, and, 
thereafter, in their unity, as constituent move- 
ments in a one organic process. 

On the one side, we have the child identical 
with itself throughout the whole process of de- 
velopment, and identical with every other normal 
child from the fact that each and all possess the 
power of reason, i.e. the power of adapting and 
adjusting means for the attainment of ends. It 
is the possession of this power of finding, adapt- 
ing, and establishing means for the attainment of 
ends, which distinguishes the human individual 
from the animal creation, and distinguishes the 
life which is governed by mere instinct, from the 
life which is or may be governed by reason. 
But while this power is present in every case, 
the degree of its potency varies from individual 
to individual ; in simpler terms the power of ac- 
quiring and building up systems of knowledge 
varies in particular cases. Not only is this so, 



we also find differences in the direction which 
this power may take. Some children are eager 
and quick at building up one particular kind of 
system, some at another ; and these differences 
are and must be ultimately traced to differences 
in the extent or structure of the sensory areas of 
the brain. 

Further, each and every child is identical one 
with or to the other by the possession of certain 
innate or inborn tendencies to action. Curiosity, 
emulation, imitation, and so on, are instinctive 
tendencies of all human nature, and, devoid of 
these and other similar instinctive tendencies to 
action, progress would be impossible, for without 
these as motive forces there would and could be 
no desire to acquire knowledge ; no desire to 
adapt means for the attainment of ends. Now, the 
rational psychologist tends to emphasize the cog- 
nitive factor, and to neglect the instinctive side of 
human nature, and, as a consequence, we have a 
one-sided account of the mental life ; and when an 
educational theory is based thereon, we have also 
a one-sided and false method of Education, i.e. 
we have a method of Education in which the 
dominant principle is the discipline of the mind. 
The enthusiast in child-study, on the other hand, 
emphasizes the instinctive factor, and the domin- 
ant note, in his' educational theory, is interest, 


Now, both interest and discipline are essential 
factors in the educative process. Interest is an 
essential factor, for it must be utilized as motive 
force in the acquisition and in the building up of 
knowledge. Discipline is also an essential factor, 
for, in the building up, or reconstruction of know- 
ledge, the reason-activity of the child must be 
evoked in the self-finding of the various parts of 
any system ; in the self-relating of part to part 
within the system, and in the self-constructing 
of part to part within the whole. This in- 
terest which must be utilized as motive force in 
Education, and in all upward progress of man- 
kind, is on its subjective side the manifestation of 
an instinctive tendency to action aroused in order 
to satisfy some fundamental need of our nature. 
At first, because unenlightened, it is blind, but as 
its true nature becomes evident, it incites the 
reason-power to search, to find, and to establish 
many and varied systems of means for its satis- 
faction, e.g. the suckling instinct of the child is at 
first a mere blind craving for satisfaction, but 
upon this original and crude instinct have been 
based the many and varied means by which man 
satisfies his need for food and for bodily preserva- 
tion. Similarly, the felt instinctive need for some 
measure of control over his social environment 
first incites the child to acquire a language as a 



means of communication to make his wants known 
to those who have it in their power to aid or hinder 
him in the satisfaction of his wants. And upon 
this crude and naive instinct is founded in after 
life the desire to acquire the languages of peoples, 
other than our own, in order that we may enter 
either into social, or commercial, or intellectual 
intercourse with them. - Further, these instinctive 
tendencies emerge, some at one stage of develop- 
ment, some at another, but once they have 
emerged, they more or less persist throughout 
life. True, they may fail to find means for their 
satisfaction, and, as a consequence, they may 
suffer more or less arrest of development, but the 
fundamental instincts, however they may change 
and modify their character, however varied the 
forms they may assume, continue in now a high, 
and in now a low degree of intensity to act as the 
motive forces impelling reason to seek this or 
that method for their satisfaction. 

On the other hand, a curriculum embodies 
certain social aims or purposes as conceived and 
laid down by the adult consciousness, or, in other 
words, it embodies certain systems of means for 
the attainment of ends considered to be of social 
worth to the community. But the nature of 
these ends is inherent in human nature. They 
are present, no doubt, in a crude form in the 


child mind, but they are fundamentally the same 
in character in the adult and in the child, e.g. 
the child acquires a language in order that he 
may obtain control over his social environment, 
but it is a felt need similar in character which 
urges on, say, the medical specialist to acquire a 
working knowledge of the German language. 
Both feel a need for some mode of intercourse, 
both feel the need for some measure of control 
over a particular social environment if their felt 
wants are to be satisfied. In very much the 
same way our interest in history, in geography, 
and in other branches of knowledge have their 
roots deep down in these instinctive needs and 
tendencies of our nature. Let me give you an 
example which may bring this truth more clearly 
home to you. The mariner desires to under- 
stand and to know how to interpret the chart of 
the ocean, not for the mere sake of knowing, but 
in order that he may guide his vessel safely to 
her destined haven. Now the art of chart- 
making arose at first in answer to the instinct of 
self-preservation — self-preservation of the mariner 
and self-preservation of that which comes to be 
looked upon as a part of the self, viz. his craft, 
and it is the same fundamental instinct that is at 
work at the present day and determines the edu- 
cation of our seamen. I need not elaborate the 


point. It is so obvious, but it is also so often 
forgotten and so often neglected. Subjects of 
school instruction are so often looked upon as 
entities in themselves, as something not intrinsi- 
cally or organically connected with the funda- 
mental instinctive needs of our nature, that it 
is necessary again and again to repeat the truth 
that the various subjects of school instruction are 
but various systems of means, various divisions 
of race experience that have been acquired and 
organized for the satisfaction of needs ; that the 
same needs and interests are present in the 
child's mind, and that he requires to be furnished 
with the means for their gradual and progressive 
satisfaction. Our whole education then, has no 
other purpose than to transmit to the child these 
experiences in such a way that hereafter he may 
be able to utilize them in the satisfaction of the 
progressive needs of his nature. 

In Education, then, on the one side, we have 
the child, a being possessed of reason, having 
the power to adapt and adjust means for the 
attainment of ends, and moved or incited to use 
this power by the present interests, the present 
inclinations of his nature, and these interests or 
inclinations are but the expression of the funda- 
mental needs of his and of all human nature 


They may be stunted, or repressed or directed 
into wrong channels, but they ever remain and 
persist as the motive forces in all human life and 
in all human progress. On the other side, we 
have certain branches of school instruction, but 
these so-called subjects are not dead masses 
of matter. They embody the results of the ex- 
periences of the race acquired and established 
in the course of the ages in order to satisfy 
the same fundamental needs as we find present 
in the child of to-day. What then is the nature 
of the educative process ? It is not to take the 
present powers, the present capacities, the pres- 
ent inclinations or interests of the child, and to 
realize them just as they stand. It is, indeed, 
these present powers and capacities that are to 
be realized, but save only as the teacher thor- 
oughly understands the true nature of the race- 
experience embodied in the curriculum can he 
aid in the progressive development of these 
powers and capacities with the final object in 
view of correlating the child with the civilization 
into which he is born, and through which he must 
hereafter realize the varied purposes of the adult 
life. For man, in answer to the instinctive needs 
of his nature, in his desire to obtain greater and 
more complete control over his physical and 
social world, has created languages, and sciences, 


and arts, all embodying systems of means for 
the attainment of the manifold and progressive 
needs of his life. As teachers, we have to utilize 
the instinctive tendencies of the child's nature as 
motive forces in the building up of means for 
the gradual and progressive satisfaction of similar 
needs ; and in the fulfilment of our aim, we must 
impart the race-experiences to the child through 
evoking motives similar in kind to those by 
which they were originally acquired, and by 
using methods similar in nature to those by 
which they were originally established. 

In conclusion, we must ever keep in mind the 
truths that the full and accurate understanding of 
the nature of the child to be educated is no less 
important than the consideration of the subjects 
which are to be imparted ; that to impose upon 
the child at any stage of his development a cur- 
riculum which cannot be organically related to 
any present interest of his life, or to any acquired 
interest grafted thereupon, is to impose something 
which is external to the child's self, which cannot 
enter into organic relation with his nature, and 
which can play no part in the building up of his 
character. But, if we have realized what the true 
nature of a curriculum is, then it will follow that 
we teachers will present the race-experience em- 
bodied in the particular subjects of instruction at 


each stage in such a way that, beginning with 
the satisfaction of the interests or instincts, in their 
crudest and native form, we shall gradually graft 
upon them the acquired interests or ends which 
are the fruit of civilization, and the means for 
whose satisfaction are embodied in the experience 
of the race. The true development of the child's 
nature is, and must be, through the curriculum, 
for in presenting to, and establishing the curri- 
culum within the mind of the child, we are but fur- 
nishing him with the means necessary for the 
realization of the innermost needs of his nature, 
not in their crude and instinctive form, but as 
they have come to be discerned and realized in 
the experience of the race. 

From this point of view, then, Education can 
never be the imparting of mere lifeless informa- 
tion to the child. It is a work, in its true 
significance, higher and more important than 
any other art. For to educate the young human 
soul, at birth more helpless than any of the 
other young of God's creation, is to lead him, 
gradually step by step, stage by stage, through 
imparting to him the established experience of 
the ages, to the level of the best civilization of 
his day and generation. 






At the present time the various schools of edu- 
cational theorists are not infrequently divided 
into two opposing and contending camps. On 
the one hand, we have those who maintain the 
position that all method in Education should be 
so designed as to arouse and sustain the interest 
of the pupil. This, it is urged, is the truth, not 
only of psychological theory, but also of the ex- 
perience of the classroom, for it has been said 
that ''experience is daily showing with greater 
clearness that there is always a method to be 
found productive of interest, even of delight, and 
it ever turns out that this is the method proved 
by all other tests to be the right one". Under- 
lying this theory, although not always explicitly 
expressed, is the assumption that Education is, or, 
rather, ought to be, a natural process, determined 

wholly as to its direction by the innate instincts 



or interests of the child ; and that any method 
which hinders, obstructs, or delays the natural 
evolution of the inborn capacities of the child is 
radically wrong, and moreover, if persisted in, is 
harmful to the full and free development of the 
growing mind. On such a theory, accordingly, 
the teacher has two main functions to perform. 
In the first place, he must accurately determine 
the time when, and the manner in which the 
various forms of natural interest manifest them- 
selves, and then, in the second place, through 
them as instruments, carry on the work of Educa- 
tion to the desired end. 

On the other hand, we have those in the op- 
posing camp declaring that effort and discipline 
are, or should be, essential factors in the educa- 
tive process ; and, further, that any system of 
Education which does not call forth the effort 
— which does not evoke and sustain the self- 
initiated and self-maintained activity — of the pupil 
in the overcoming of difficulties, is a system 
which is likely to produce results of little value 
for the intellectual and ethical culture of the in- 
dividual will. Accordingly, in this theory, the 
importance tends to be laid, not on the nature of 
the subject learned, but on the process of learning, 
i.e. the emphasis is put, not upon the results of 
a course of Education in the matter of accumulat- 


ing such or such an amount of knowledge, but 
upon the mental effects attained through, and by 
means of the methods employed in the acquiring 
and in the systematizing of the various branches 
of school instruction. Moreover, in laying down 
this test, it is frankly and freely acknowledged by 
the adherents of the school, that there may be 
much in the process of Education that cannot be 
made directly interesting to the pupil ; much that 
will, and must call upon him for the earnest self- 
application of his own powers in the attainment 
of any desired end. 

From these two contending schools arises a 
third which undertakes to harmonize the oppos- 
ing claims of the principles of interest and effort 
in the work of Education ; and to assign to each 
its appropriate place in the methods of teaching 
and in the work of the school. Both practical 
experience and further theoretical investigation, 
we have but recently been told by an eminent 
American educationalist, are showing that the 
interpretation of Education from the point of 
view of interest, is as partial and one-sided as 
the older interpretation of Education as essenti- 
ally one of disciplinary effort. Consequently, we 
are informed, the present tendency is one of 
reconciliation — of the harmonization of interest 
and effort as the basis of educational practice. 


But the writer makes no attempt to show how 
this reconciliation or harmonization of two seem- 
ingly diverse and opposed principles is to be 
effected ; and rests content with the declaration 
that interest and effort must both find a place 
in the practice of Education ; and, further, that 
while interest should be the dominating principle 
in the early education of the child, the disciplinary 
factor should prevail during the later stages. 

Now, this opposition of interest to effort, with 
its consequent classification of educational theor- 
ists into two main groups, seems to me to be 
erroneous, and to have its basis in a two-fold 
confusion. In the first place, interest is some- 
times taken as equivalent to natural inclination, 
and, as a consequence, we have the classification 
of interests as all of one type, i.e. natural interests 
or inclinations are taken to be the only kind of 
interests involved in the work of Education ; and 
hence every method of Education must conform 
to the conditions involved in the working out of 
a natural interest. The play activity of the child 
or of the animal is the best example of the work- 
ing of such a natural interest, and, hence, it is 
urged that all educational methods should endeav- 
our to call forth an activity similar in kind ; and 
the more nearly any particular method approxi- 
mates to this fundamental type, the more nearly 


does the method approach the true method of all 

Now, there is a considerable amount of truth 
in this contention ; and, at the outset, it may be 
admitted that, whenever the activity involved 
in the learning of any particular subject takes on 
this particular form, then the subject is being 
acquired at the least cost to the learner ; and, 
moreover, we may further agree with the writer 
of the " Upton Letters" that in Education it is 
better to encourage and to develop natural apti- 
tudes than to try merely to correct natural de- 

But the truth embodied in such a theory is 
only a half truth : in Education we must endeav- 
our to find out and to develop, not only the 
natural aptitudes of the child which tend towards 
good, but we must also endeavour to check the 
inborn aptitudes which, if allowed to develop, 
would tend to the injury of the individual and to 
the hurt of the community. As teachers, our 
duty is to aid the development of the former by 
influences of all kinds, to check and restrain the 
latter by all the means at our disposal. For 
by Education " natural constitution and natural 
tendency must be partly reinforced and partly 
checked by acquired constitution and acquired 
tendency". The real problem of educational 



method is not to make all Education of such a 
nature that the activity involved in the process 
is always of an interesting and pleasurable kind ; 
nor, on the other hand, to make the process of 
such a character that effort of a disagreeable kind 
is a necessary and universal constituent of the 
process, but rather to utilize the natural interests 
of the pupil in such a manner that they may be 
used to the best advantage in the establishment 
of interests which may be of future advantage 
both to the individual and to the community. 

The second fallacy underlying the opposition 
of interest to effort is to be found in the assump- 
tion that interest is considered to be present only 
when we have an activity aroused which is 
pleasurable, and, further, that effort always in- 
volves an experience which is disagreeable or 
positively painful in tone. Now, on the contrary, 
it must be maintained that while, as a general 
rule, an interesting experience is a pleasant ex- 
perience, it is not necessarily so, and that, in 
some cases, the feeling-tone which accompanies 
the working out of an interest is of a disagreeable 
or even painful character. Further, we must 
hold that interest and effort are not opposed to 
each other, but that, on the contrary, it would be 
truer to assert that the greater the interest the 
greater the effort ; the less the interest the less 


the effort ; and that, although in many cases the 
feeling of effort is a disagreeable experience, yet 
it is not necessarily so, and, when present, is due, 
not to the absence or lack of interest, but rather 
to the incompleteness, or insufficiency, or to the 
entire lack of the means necessary to further and 
to maintain the interest or end at work, whether 
that interest be of a direct or indirect nature. 

In order, then, that we may come to a right 
understanding of the true place of the principle 
of interest in the work of Education and in the 
methods of teaching, I propose to undertake an 
analysis of the psychological conditions necessary 
for the arousing and maintenance of any particu- 
lar interest. From this investigation, I hope to 
be able to demonstrate that the principle of 
interest must be present throughout the entire 
process of Education ; and, further, that there is 
no part nor piece of our human experience which 
has not been organized and which has not re- 
ceived its specific characteristics but through the 
working of selective interest. On the other 
hand, it will also be shown that effort or discipline 
is a factor essential to the growth of experience ; 
and that although the degree or intensity of the 
effort involved may vary in particular cases, yet 
effort is never entirely absent in the organization 


of experience and in the development of the 
mental life. Further, it will appear that the edu- 
cational questions really in dispute are not as to 
whether, and to what extent the respective prin- 
ciples of interest and effort shall, now the one, 
and now the other, function in the development 
of experience, or prevail in the work of Education, 
but that the real problems are concerned with the 
nature of the interests that ought to be utilized 
in the training of the young ; and with the selec- 
tion of the proper ulterior motives in arousing 
and maintaining the active attention of the pupil. 
Again, it will appear that, as regards method 
in Education, the important problem is to ascer- 
tain the conditions necessary for the arousal and 
the maintenance of the active attention and in- 
terest of the child to which the teacher must 
conform if he is to be successful in attaining his 
educational aims. Further, it will be seen that 
wrong methods of teaching arise, in some cases, 
from the fact that interests or ulterior motives of 
an unethical character are being continuously and 
persistently utilized in the education of the child, 
and not because of the failure to awaken interest. 
For, whenever active attention is present, and 
active attention is present whenever an educa- 
tional process is in progress, interest is present. 
But it is the quality of the interests that prevail 


which gives the character to the education and 
the tone to the school. In other cases, the 
wrong use of unethical motives — of interests not 
intrinsically connected with the educational aim 
— is due, in the first instance, to the fact that the 
teacher fails to conform in his methods to the 
psychological conditions necessary for the sus- 
taining of direct interest once aroused, and not to 
the supposed need that effort of a disagreeable 
kind must be an essential ingredient in the pro- 
cess of Education. 

A completely organized interest, whether nat- 
ural or acquired, has been formed, whenever a 
system of means has been established and fixed 
into the nervous and mental constitution of the 
individual, of such a nature that when the system 
has been once aroused into activity by the appro- 
priate stimulus, it tends to work itself out and to 
attain the required end in an automatic manner, 
and with a minimum of effort and of intervention 
on the part of the individual. In so far as the 
working out of such a system has conscious 
effects, the activity involved is of a pleasurable 
nature, except in the case where, through a series 
of successive repetitions of the same functional 
activity, the fatigue stage has already been 
reached. It is needless to point out that, on the 


lower plane of natural interests, the best example 
of such a completely organized interest is that of 
a completely formed instinct, an approximation 
to which may be found in certain forms of insect 
life. But examples of completely organized in- 
terests or instincts are the exception rather than 
the rule even in animal life, and whenever this is 
so, whenever in so far as any instinct is imper- 
fect, and so requires to be adapted to new and 
changing circumstances, then, in so far, some 
measure of effort is necessary. 

Further, in so far as the adjustment of the pre- 
formed and inherited system to new conditions is 
successful, the activity involved is accompanied 
by a feeling of a pleasurable kind ; in so far, how- 
ever, as the adjustment is unsuccessful, either 
through the failure to adopt and to adapt the 
means necessary for the attainment of the de- 
sired end, or through a false adaptation, so that 
the end reached is not the end desired, then 
the feeling-tone which accompanies, or is the re- 
sult of the process, is of a disagreeable or even 
painful character. Effort is present in both 
cases, but, on the one hand, the effort which is 
successful is pleasurable, and, on the other hand, 
the effort which is unsuccessful is painful. Inter- 
est, again, is present in both cases, for entire 
absence of interest would imply that there was no 


desire to attain the end, and, consequently, no 
attempt to make the new and required adjust- 
ment of means to end. 

Wherever we have this active adjustment of 
new to old, there we have the working of se- 
lective interest, and wherever interest is pres- 
ent, some degree of effort is present ; and the 
stronger the interest, i.e. the stronger the desire 
to attain the end, then the stronger will be the felt 
need to make the necessary adjustment for its 
attainment, and, consequently, the greater the 

Now, Education, whether in the animal or the 
child, looked at from this point of view, and 
without inquiring into the essential nature of the 
activity involved, may be described as the pro- 
cess by which new experiences are acquired, 
organized, and established, so that they shall 
modify further adjustment, and, in the future, 
function as systems of means for the attain- 
ment of relatively stable and permanent ends. 
Throughout this process of adaptation of means 
to ends, selective interest is present, and when- 
ever any fresh adjustment is rendered necessary, 
effort of an agreeable or disagreeable nature is 
present, according as the process of adaptation of 
new to old is successful or unsuccessful. 

This may, perhaps, be made clearer by con- 


sidering the working of an acquired interest — of 
an interest which has been formed as the result 
of a course of conscious experience, and has been 
established as the consequence of a course of 
Education. This kind of interest is formed when- 
ever a system of knowledge has been organized 
for the attainment of certain definitely related ends, 
and, moreover, has been so established as to have 
become a more or less permanent and stable pos- 
session of the individual. Further, such a system 
tends to be excited and rendered active by the 
presentation of any new and related fact, and here 
again, in so far as the adjustment of new to old is 
successful, so far is the result pleasurable, and in 
so far as the adjustment is unsuccessful, the pro- 
cess is of a disagreeable or even positively painful 
character. A good example of the working of 
such an interest may be found in the attempt of 
the trained mathematician to solve a relatively 
new problem. The new stands outside of the old 
and craves incorporation. In so far as the desire 
to relate new to old is motived by the felt need 
of incorporation for its own sake, then we have 
direct interest in the attainment of the end de- 
sired. But, if the motive at work is one which 
stands outside the system of knowledge, and is 
not inherently or intrinsically connected with it, 
then the interest involved is of an indirect nature. 


The indirect motives at work may be of the most 
various kinds : such as the desire of fame — the 
desire of emulating others — and so on ; but in the 
attainment of all knowledge, in the extension of 
all experience, interests of a direct or of an indirect 
nature are always operative, and in our human 
life these two classes of interests are so inex- 
tricably blended together that in any particular 
case, now the one, and now the other, functions 
in the growth of experience. 

Moreover, the character of the Education which 
we give our pupils, no less than the quality of 
our own character, depends upon how far direct 
interest prevails over indirect in the determina- 
tion of their and our own conduct, and when 
direct interest fails as a motive force, it depends 
upon the kind and quality of the ulterior motives 

But, further, indirect interest of any kind can 
pass into direct interest only in so far as is set up 
and maintained a constructive process, which 
may become of interest on its own account. 
Without this possibility indirect interest, what- 
ever its nature, high or low, may be, can never 
pass into direct interest, for where there is noth- 
ing to interpret, nothing to construct, nothing 
to devise, direct interest is impossible, and, as a 


consequence, the pupil forced to acquire know- 
ledge under these circumstances is reduced to 
the mere connecting, to the mere memorizing of 
facts by their accidental time and space relations ; 
and such a process, since it can never become 
constructive — since it can never result in the 
establishment of a system of means for the at- 
tainment of an end directly desired — must be 
initiated and sustained throughout by the opera- 
tion of an ulterior motive of a powerful character, 
and, in many cases, of a thoroughly unethical na- 
ture. From this it follows that whenever, and 
to such an extent, as any method of teaching fails 
to arouse and to maintain a constructive process 
within the mind of the pupil, then, and to such an 
extent, is the method employed a wrong method. 

In order that the teacher may arouse and 
maintain an active attention process within the 
mind of the child, and in order that a process of 
active construction or reconstruction may be set 
up and maintained, certain psychological condi- 
tions must be conformed to in the presentation 
of any new facts. 

In the first place, the child's active attention 
can be aroused only by the presentation of the 
relatively novel. What is perfectly unfamiliar to 
the child will fail to arouse active attention, and 
will also fail to initiate any process of construe- 


tion, because, under these circumstances, he can 
formulate no definite inquiry about the new ob- 
ject. Again, what is perfectly familiar to the 
child will also fail to arouse any active construc- 
tive process, for in such a case new and "old 
coalesce with each other without any call upon 
the constructive powers of the child. But, in 
order to evoke this condition of mind we must 
not merely present the relatively novel, we must 
further lead the child to become aware of the 
insufficiency of his present knowledge, to perceive 
that whilst the new is connected with the old, the 
relationship between the two has not been fully 
established — that the new craves for further in- 
corporation within the old. Given these two 
conditions, there may then arise on the part of 
the pupil the desire to extend his knowledge for 
its own sake. In this case we have direct 
interest aroused in the process of construction, 
for the mere pleasure which ensues from the 
successful active construction or reconstruction of 
part to part within a related whole. This is the 
condition which underlies the play -activity of the 
child, as it is also the motive-force in the mind of 
the youthful solver of picture puzzles. Successful 
reconstruction, however, does not imply that effort 
is absent, but the effort is of a pleasurable char- 
acter, and the process becomes disagreeable only 


in so far as the attempted reconstruction is im- 
peded or altogether blocked. Here again the 
greater the interest, i.e. the greater the felt desire 
to attain the end, the greater will be the effort 
evoked, even in the face of difficulties, to attain 
the end of successful reconstruction. 

Direct interest, however, in a constructive pro- 
cess for its own sake, is a motive force which 
cannot be wholly relied upon in the work of the 
schoolroom, and, moreover, it is a force which, in 
some minds, after the years of early childhood 
have been passed, prevails but to a slight extent, 
and, as a consequence, recourse must be had to 
other means. Now, we can approximate to this 
state of pure direct interest whenever we can 
make the pupil discern and realize how the ac- 
quirement of any particular knowledge, or the 
acquisition of any particular skill, may further 
some end or interest of felt value desired for the 
satisfaction of some need of present or future 
worth to him as an individual, or as a member 
of a corporate community. It is interest of this 
kind which is operating whenever a boy seeks 
knowledge in order that he may further and 
attain some end which, to his youthful mind, 
seems of supreme value. It is, again, for this 
reason, that, in our public schools, boys are so 
often directly interested in the games of the 


school, and have so little interest in the mere 
instruction given there. The former appeals to 
them as a means to the furthering of an end of 
felt and present value : the latter furthers an end 
remote and not directly connected with any pres- 
ent interest, and, as a consequence, receives only 
such an amount of attention as is compulsorily 
enforced, or as can be spared from the pursuit of 
ends of direct and present interest. 

In so far, then, as we can relate our teaching 
to the present needs of the pupil, i.e. in so far as 
we can utilize the natural interests of the pupil 
in the furtherance of our educational aims, then 
so far are we likely to arouse the active attention 
of the pupil. But, further, in order that the state 
of active attention once aroused may be main- 
tained, two other conditions must be conformed 
to by the teacher : not only must he make his 
pupil realize the insufficiency of his present know- 
ledge, not only must he endeavour by all the 
means at his disposal to make him realize that 
the acquisition and furtherance of his knowledge, 
when not undertaken for its own sake, will fur- 
ther some end or interest of present or future 
worth, he must also see that the system of know- 
ledge presently possessed by the pupil is adequate 
to the incorporation of the new, and that the 


process of reconstruction is within the power of 
the child. If this condition is not fulfilled, then 
it is his duty accurately to find out the present 
state of the knowledge of the pupil, and from this 
as a basis, to go on to extend it. If this is neglec- 
ted, then any constructive process once begun is 
likely soon to come to an end on account of the 
fact that the means necessary for construction are 
not possessed by the pupil. 

Further, the teacher must see that the process 
of construction is of a nature suited to the present 
stage of development of the child. As a rule, 
construction of a practical and concrete nature is 
the form which, in early life, interests the child, 
for the reason that his attention and interest are 
mainly directed to the analysis and synthesis of 
the things of the external world. This is the 
truth which underlies the whole teaching of 
Froebel. He perceived that the only activity 
which interests is constructive activity, and that, 
in early life, all constructive effort tends to assume 
a concrete form. Later in life, when the external 
world ceases wholly to engross the attention, the 
imaginative construction of reality begins to as- 
sume a larger place in the child's life. The 
centre of interest is not now in the external 
world, but is found in the inner world of feeling 
and emotion. Later still, the theoretical recon- 


struction of reality — such forms as are exemplified 
in the study of geometry and in the principles of 
language — are undertaken. 

If, then, the teacher is to be at all successful in 
arousing and in maintaining the active attention of 
the pupil, he must conform in his method to these 
conditions. Above all, he must remember that 
it is only constructive activity — constructive effort 
— which can be made directly interesting, and the 
only effort which can be at all pleasurable ; and, 
further, he must remember that the kind of con- 
struction which interests varies with the varying 
stages in the development of the mind ; and, 
finally, that the best auxiliary when the construc- 
tive process in itself fails to arouse the attention 
and interest of his pupils, is to endeavour to relate 
his teaching to the ends or interests of present and 
felt value to the child. 

Now, it is these two fundamental truths of the 
mental life that the advocates of the principle of 
" interest" have seized upon, and laid down as 
the cardinal and all-embracing rules of educa- 
tional method. They have clearly perceived that 
the child or the adult can be directly interested 
only in so far as the acquisition of knowledge is a 
constructive process undertaken for its own sake, 
or, in so far as the constructive process is under- 


taken for some end of present and felt value 
to the individual, in which means and ends are 
intrinsically and not extrinsically connected with 
each other. They have further clearly perceived 
that it is only in so far as by our teaching we 
arouse activity of a constructive nature, that it 
can possibly result in pleasure to the child. It 
does not follow as a consequence therefrom, that 
every or any constructive process is pleasur- 
able or can be attained without effort, but it 
does follow that the only effort, which is or can 
be pleasurable, is constructive effort. Finally, 
and negatively, they have clearly discerned that 
whenever no construction is possible, no educa- 
tion is possible ; and if instruction is attempted 
under these conditions, it can result only in the 
mere unintelligible cramming of facts ; and above 
all, they have seen that the true worth of a 
course of education is determined by the relative 
proportion in which direct interest prevails over 

But, after laying down these fundamental 
principles of educational method, the thorough- 
going advocates of the principle of interest have 
glided into one or other of two fallacies. In the 
first place they have assumed that, since a con- 
structive process when undertaken for its own 


sake, and, in so far as it is successful, is pleasur- 
able, that, therefore, all method in Education 
should call forth a pleasurable activity of this 
nature, and that whenever any learning is found 
to evoke effort of a disagreeable or painful tone, 
then this is the sign or index that the method 
employed is erroneous. Further, and secondly, 
it is assumed, that since the working out of a 
natural interest or instinct involves a process of 
a constructive kind for the attainment of an end 
intrinsically connected with the process, and is, 
as a rule, accompanied by effort of a pleasurable 
kind, all true method in Education should, as far 
as possible, approximate to this fundamental type, 
and call forth an activity similar in character to. 
that manifested in the play-activity of the child. 

But, at this point, the two schools of thought, 
which are founded upon the principle of interest, 
diverge. The advocates of the school of educa- 
tional thought, of whom Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and 
Froebel may be taken as typical examples, as- 
sume, and assume rightly, that the child is only 
directly interested in so far as he is actively 
employed in constructing a system of means for 
the attainment of an end of felt value. But they 
further assert that the ends of value are those 
which the child naturally seeks — the need for the 



attainment of which is implanted in his nature ; 
and, finally, since these ends or interests are all 
directed towards good, therefore it is the duty of 
the teacher to utilize these innate instincts in the 
extension and development of experience. The 
satisfaction of natural needs — the following out 
of natural inclinations — become, on this theory, 
the only safe guides in Education, the method 
of Education according to nature. Rousseau, of 
course, is the most extreme exponent of this view, 
but it also underlies and dominates the conception 
of education of Pestalozzi, as it lies at the basis of 
all the educational teachings of Froebel. 

Now, if Education were merely a natural 
process : if it were merely a process by which 
.inherited and preformed systems of means were 
brought to maturity and fitted for their proper end 
in the maintenance and furtherance of life, then 
the rule would hold good that all acquisition of 
knowledge should be motived by the desire of 
satisfying a natural need, and the mode of nature 
in the development and ripening of an instinct 
would afford the educator the safest guidance in 
his educational methods. But the education of 
the child is not a natural process in this sense : it 
is not merely a process by which inherited in- 
stincts or interests are matured and adapted to 
the attainment of ends laid down and implicit in 


the nature of the organism. It is rather a process 
which, using as a basis the natural instinctive 
tendencies and aptitudes inherent in the child's 
nature, goes on to form and organize systems^ of 
means for the attainment of ends of future social 
and economic worth. It is, however, a sound 
rule of educational method that we should as far 
as possible utilize the natural interests of the 
child in our endeavour to form acquired interests 
of future ethical and social worth. But this is 
not always possible ; and, if it were possible in 
every case, it would not be advisable. It is not 
always possible because the child is a child and 
cannot fully see the relation or bearing of present 
knowledge upon the future needs of the man. 
We must, of course, as far as possible, use the 
natural instincts of the child as a means to the 
extending of his knowledge, but when these fail, 
as they must fail again and again in life, then we 
must have recourse to some form of indirect in- 
terest in order to maintain attention and in order 
to further knowledge. 

What is wrong in educational method is that 
we resort often — too often — to forms of indirect 
interest of an unethical nature ; forms which are 
so distantly related to direct interest that by no 
possibility can they ever pass into the latter 
form. Our educational system, in many cases, 



is governed throughout by such a system of ex- 
ternal and ulterior motives. We encourage our 
pupils to acquire knowledge not in order that it 
may be turned to use in after life to further ends 
and interests of worth, but in order that they 
may obtain certain external rewards, or pass 
certain examinations. Hence direct interest 
throughout the whole process of Education must 
be reinforced and strengthened by the evoking 
of indirect interest, and the indirect interests of 
most value for the purpose of Education are 
those which appeal to the ethical nature of the 
child ; for these are the motives which are most 
likely to pass over into direct interest. 

And in this connexion the two principal rules 
of educational method are : whenever direct in- 
terest in any constructive process fails to maintain 
the attention of the pupil, then the teacher should 
have recourse to those ulterior motives which are 
of an ethical nature, such as the desire of the pupil 
to stand well in the estimation of his teacher, his 
sense of duty, and so on ; and must never have re- 
course to the lower and unethical motives, such as 
fear of punishment or hope of reward, until all 
other means have failed. In the second place, he 
must endeavour gradually to make less and less 
use of these ulterior motives in order that indirect 
interest may pass into direct, for it is only in so 


far as, in any particular case, this result is reached 
that we can be certain that we shall attain our 
aim of establishing permanent and stable systems 
of ideas, which shall in after life function in the 
determination of conduct. 

But, in Education, effort is no less an edu- 
cational principle than interest. All sound 
educational method must endeavour to set up 
a constructive process in the child's mind, and 
in so far as there is construction, effort of a 
pleasurable or painful character is present. No 
educationalist wishes to banish effort from the 
educational process, but what he does wish to 
abolish, to see swept out of Education, is a par- 
ticular form of effort. Whenever any method of 
teaching, instead of setting up and maintaining 
an active constructive process, sets up a mere 
connecting process — a process in which the suc- 
cessions of facts presented to the mind of the 
child have no internal bonds of connexion — 
then the only way to retain and remember such 
a succession is to introduce some more or less 
artificial bond of connexion between the parts- 
If the child is forced to undertake such a mere 
connecting process, then his attention can be 
maintained only through the operation of some 
indirect motive of a powerful kind. Such a 
method of instruction, if persistently followed, 


must result in the cramming of the child's mind 
with a mass of knowledge which may be used 
for examination purposes, but it is a method 
which thoroughly fails to educate, and can only 
result in training the child to grow up to be dull 
and stupid and unintelligent. Mere memorizing 
may occasionally be necessary in Education, but 
the less it prevails, the more the child's construc- 
tive ability is evoked, the better the education. 
Effort — constructive effort, however motived, and 
whether it be pleasurable or painful, is conse- 
quently an essential factor in the educative 
process ; and a necessary factor in all educa- 
tional method which is directly interesting, or 
which, beginning by being indirectly interesting, 
can at all pass into the direct form. 

But, even if it were possible to relate all our 
teaching to the satisfaction of the direct and 
present needs of the child, it would not be ad- 
visable to do so, because, in the first place, the 
present needs of the child are often of such a 
nature that instead of being satisfied they must 
be starved, and so do not afford a sure guidance 
to the teacher. In the second place, as we have 
already seen, the process of Education is not 
merely the bringing to maturity of natural in- 
terests, but rather a process of grafting upon 


natural interests, interests which may prove of 
future worth to the adult. Now the child is apt 
to take an inadequate, or even a false view of the 
nature of these future needs. Nay, he will do so, 
because his horizon is that of a child and not that of 
a man, and, hence, often, these natural interests are 
ineffective forces in maintaining his active atten- 
tion, and recourse must be had to ulterior motives. 
Thus indirect interests as motive forces cannot 
be banished from our educational methods. We 
cannot make all our teaching directly interesting 
to our pupils, and if we were successful in so 
doing, we should not reach the highest educa- 
tional and ethical aim, for this cannot be attained 
without effort, nor, in many cases, without effort 
of a disagreeable nature. The effort, as we have 
already said, which is wrong in Education is the 
effort which evokes no constructive activity on 
the part of the pupil : which is called in as a 
support to teaching which leads the pupil to 
acquire facts which can neither be organized 
into a system of knowledge nor adapted as a 
system of means towards the attainment of an 
end. On the other hand, the effort, pleasurable 
or painful, which is involved in all constructive 
activity, is an effort the absence of which de- 
notes that, somewhere or other, our educational 
methods are wrong. 


Again, a method of Education which appeals 
ever and always to the present needs, to the 
present inclinations of the pupil, will certainly 
always interest, but it will and must result in the 
failure to attain any ethical result ; for such a 
method involves no training in the subordination 
of present inclination to future good : no denying 
of present need for the sake of a future and 
higher need ; no sacrifice of present interest in 
order that an interest whose satisfaction is re- 
mote and indirect may be furthered, and which 
is sought to be established for the future good of 
the individual and the community. So much 
for the one school of educational theorists. 

The other and second school is represented 
by Herbart and his followers. The aim of Edu- 
cation is stated, in this theory, to be the ultimate 
establishment in the mind of the pupil of a many- 
sided interest ; and the method to be employed 
is that which utilizes the various forms of natural 
interest as means to the attainment of this end. 
With this statement of the aim and method of 
Education, we have no fault to find, except that 
the aim of Education is better described as the 
formation of permanent and stable interests of 
ethical and social worth, rather than the mere 
formation of a many-sided interest. For, an in- 


dividual may have many and varied interests, and 
yet these interests may be of comparatively little 
value, either for the furtherance of his own or the 
community's good. Again, the saner Herbartians 
recognize that direct interest is not always to'be 
relied upon as a motive force in the work of 
Education ; and that use must be made of ulterior 
motives of an ethical and social nature in the at- 
tainment of the educational aim. 

But at the present time, among many writers 
of this school of thought, two tendencies are to 
be found, viz. first, to oppose the doctrine of 
interest to that of formal discipline, and, as a 
consequence, to call for the banishment from 
the school curriculum of all subjects which have 
been introduced, for their disciplinary value 
rather than for any direct utility value they may, 
in after-life, possess. The second tendency is to 
insist that all educational method should be made 
interesting in the sense that it should always 
evoke an interest of a pleasurable kind. 

From the prevalence of this second tendency, 
there arises a movement to introduce into the 
school, subjects which call forth the simpler and 
easier constructive powers of the child ; and, 
further, to insist that the teacher, in the prepara- 
tion and in the presentation of the subject- 
matter, shall do all in his power to assist the child 


in the construction and organization of the various 
systems of knowledge, in order that, as far as pos- 
sible, direct interest shall supervene and prevail 
in the work of the school. Against this tendency, 
and it is a tendency that daily grows, it must be 
urged in objection, that one of the final aims of 
Education is to train up the boy or girl to self- 
apply and to self-utilize systems of means for the 
attainment of relatively new ends ; and that in 
after-life this process is often not an easy one — is, 
in fact, one which often calls upon the individual 
to persevere in the attainment of any desired end 
in spite of the many difficulties that may beset 
his path ; and if, during school life, he is not 
habituated in the face of difficulties in the carry- 
ing out to a successful issue constructive pro- 
cesses, then we are not training him up to meet 
the realities of life. An education which is to 
fit for life must involve effort of an intrinsically 
disagreeable nature, and is the only education 
which can be at all successful in attaining an 
ethical result. 

Nay, further, an education which tends to 
make the acquisition of all knowledge an easy 
assimilative process, and to make all methods of 
acquirement interesting in this sense, is an edu- 
cation which is intellectually false and ethically 
unsound. It is intellectually wrong because it 


fails to develop the reason-activity of the pupil in 
the self-construction of means towards ends, as 
it also fails to develop any power of initiative on 
the part of the pupil ; it is ethically unsound 
because, throughout, the tendency is ever to sub- 
ordinate duty to inclination, and to call for no 
strenuous activity on the part of the pupil in the 
endeavour to attain any desired result. 

As regards the first-named tendency, viz. the 
supposed opposition of the doctrines of interest 
and of formal discipline, a few words must here 
suffice. A disciplinary subject is simply a sub- 
ject which calls forth constructive effort of an 
intellectual nature on the part of the pupil, and 
in so far as either directly or indirectly, we can 
arouse constructive effort, then interest results. 
There is nothing in any disciplinary subject in 
itself which makes it uninteresting in this usage 
of the term : nay, rather, it might be urged that 
the so-called disciplinary subjects are the only 
subjects which can ever evoke during the school 
period pure direct interest. For the working 
out of, say, a mathematical problem, or the con- 
structive effort involved in the translation of a 
Latin author, are exercises which not only train 
and discipline the mind by leading the pupil by 
himself to undertake a process of construction,. 


but are also exercises which, when undertaken 
for their own sake, give rise to direct interest of 
the purest kind. But, it must be admitted that 
some of the so-called disciplinary subjects are 
not interesting to some minds; in the sense that 
the acquisition of the particular knowledge can- 
not be directly related to any present or future 
need of life. The knowledge which some sub- 
jects such as, e.g. classics, gives does not directly 
seem to further any end or interest in after-life, 
and it is on this ground, and not on the ground 
that these subjects are inherently uninteresting, 
that their claim to admission in the school cur- 
riculum is contested. 

If, however, these so-called disciplinary sub- 
jects, rightly taught, are the best school means for 
habituating the pupil to undertake and maintain 
processes of construction : if they, further, are 
the subjects best fitted to arouse direct interest 
in constructive effort for its own sake : if, more- 
over, they, as I believe they do, furnish the best 
preliminary training for the more advanced and 
complex constructive processes involved in the 
study of the social and of the natural sciences, 
then, although they may directly further no con- 
crete interest in after-life, yet, indirectly, they 
may become the best means during the school 
period for preparing the pupil for the after attain- 


ment of the more important ends of life. If they 
do these things, if they effect these ends, then 
they have established their right to a place in 
our school curriculum. 

Time does not permit me to go at fuller 
length into this question, and in concluding this 
rather discursive lecture, what I should wish to 
emphasize is, that all method in teaching should 
be directed to the arousing and maintaining of 
active constructive effort on the part of the pupil ; 
that wherever a teacher is successful in leading 
the pupil to maintain and carry through such a 
process for its own sake, even when the process 
of construction is beset with difficulties, and even 
when it is accompanied by effort of a disagree- 
able nature, then he has attained the highest 
educational result. This is, however, not always 
possible, and some form of indirect interest must 
often be called upon to reinforce and to strength- 
en direct interest. As teachers our duty is to 
make the first appeal to the higher ethical 
motives of the child, and never to resort to ul- 
terior motives of an unethical kind until all else 
fails. The character of the education we give 
our pupils, the tone of the school, depend upon 
two conditions, and two conditions only ; it de- 
pends upon how far the teaching of the school is 


dominated by the desire to arouse the direct 
interest of the pupil in his work, and to the 
extent to which this form of interest prevails over 
indirect interest as a motive force ; and, in the 
second place, it depends upon how far in the 
acquisition of knowledge and in the maintenance 
of school order, ulterior motives of an ethical 
nature prevail over indirect interests of an un- 
ethical kind. An institution in which knowledge 
is acquired mainly through the operation of ul- 
terior motives of a non-moral nature, and in 
which order and discipline is maintained through 
fear of punishment or hope of reward, whatever 
else it may be, is not an educational institution. 



The Art of Teaching. By DAVID SALMON, Principal 

of Swansea Training College. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. 

A New Manual of Method. By A. H. GARLICK, B.A. 

With Illustrations and Diagrams. Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d. 
Pestalozzi : An Account of his Life and Work. By H. 
HOLMAN, M.A. (Cantab.). With 4 Illustrations and Diagrams in 
the Text. Crown 8vo. 3s. net. 

The Training of Infants: with especial reference to the 
Sunday School. By H. KINGSMILL MOORE, D.D., Principal of 
the Church of Ireland Training College. Crown 8vo. 2s. K 

Infant Schools: their History and Theory. By DAVID 
SALMON, Principal of Swansea Training College, and WINIFRED 
HINDSHAW, M.A., Mistress of Method, Swansea Training College. 
Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d. 

Kindergarten Guide. By LOiS BATES. With 200 

Illustrations and 16 Coloured Plates. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

Psychology in the Schoolroom. By T. F. G. DEXTER, 

B.A., B.Sc, and A. H. GARLICK, B.A. Crown 8vo. 4 s. 6d. 

A Primer of School Method. By T. F. G. DEXTER, 

B.A., B.Sc, and A. H. GARLICK, B.A. Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. 

Talks to Teachers on Psychology, and to Students on 
some of Life's Ideals. By WILLIAM JAMES, Professor of 
Philosophy at Harvard University. Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d. 

Moral Instruction and Training in Schools: Report of 

an International Inquiry. Edited, on behalf of the Committee, by 
M. E. SADLER. (In Two Volumes.) Crown 8vo. 

Vol. I. The United Kingdom. 5s. net. 

Vol. II. Foreign and Colonial. 5s. net. 

Educational Aims and Efforts, 1880- 19 10. By Sir 

PHILIP MAGNUS, M.P., Superintendent of the Department of 
Technology, City and Guilds off London Institute. With 1 Illus- 
tration. 8vo. 7s. 6d. net. 

Suggestions for a Seven Year Syllabus in Religious 

Teaching. By G. B. AYRE. With an Introduction by M. E. 
SADLER, LL.D. Crown 8vo. is. net, sewed ; is. 6d. net, cloth. 
%* There is also an Edition for Church Schools, is. 6d. net, sewed ; 
2s. net, cloth. 


Outlines of Psychology. Crown 8vo. 9s. 

The Teacher's Handbook of Psychology. Crown 8vo. 
6s. net. 

Studies of Childhood. 8vo. 12s. 6d. net. 

Children's Ways: being Selections from the Author's 
" Studies of Childhood," with some Additional Matter. With 25 
Figures in the Text. Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d. 

LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO., 39 Paternoster Row; 
New York, Bombay and Calcutta. 


Public Schools for Girls. A Series of Papers by Nine- 
teen Headmistresses dealing with the History, Curricula, and Aims 
of Public Secondary Schools for Girls. Edited by SARA A. BUR- 
STALL, Headmistress of the Manchester High School, and M. A. 
DOUGLAS, Headmistress of the Godolphin School, Salisbury. 
Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d. 

Essays on Educational Reformers. By ROBERT 

HEBERT QUICK, M.A. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. 

The Principles of Education. By T. RAYMONT, M.A. 

Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d. 

Habit- Formation and the Science of Teaching. By 

STUART H. ROWE, Ph.D. Crown 8vo. 6s. net. 

Character Forming in School. By F. H. ELLIS, Warley 

Road School, Halifax. With 18 Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 3s. 

Story Lessons on Character- Building (Morals) and 

Manners. By LOIS BATES. Crown 8vo. 2s. 
The Dawn of Character : a Study of Child Life. By 

EDITH E. READ MUMFORD, M.A., Clothworkers' Scholar. 
Girton College, Cambridge. 3s. 6d. 

A Handbook of Management and Methods of Teaching. 

By P. W. JOYCE, LL.D. Fcp. 8vo. 3s. 6d. 

Teaching and Organisation. With Special Reference to 

Secondary Schools. A Manual of Practice. Essays by Various 
Writers. Edited by P. A. BARNETT, M.A. Crown 8vo. 6s. 6d. 

Common Sense in Education and Teaching. By P. A. 

BARNETT, M.A. Crown 8vo. 6s. 

Addresses to Teachers. By DOROTHEA BEALE, late 

Headmistress of the Ladies' College, Cheltenham. Crown 8vo. 
is. 6d. net. 

Work and Play in Girls' Schools. By Three Head- 
BY, and JANE FRANCES DOVE). Crown 8vo. 7s. 6d. 

English High Schools for Girls : Their Aims, Organisa- 
tion and Management. By SARA A. BURSTALL, M.A. Crown 
8vo. 4s. 6d. 

Impressions of American Education in 1908. By SARA 

A. BURSTALL, M.A. Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d. 

Schoolboys and School Work. By The Rev. The Hon. 

E. LYTTELTON, M.A., B.D., Head Master of Eton. Crown 8vo. 
3s. 6d. 

Boys and their Management in School. By H. BOMPAS 

SMITH, M.A., King Edward VII. School, Lytham. Crown 8vo. 
2s. 6d. net. 

Notes of Lessons on the Herbartian Method (based on 

Herbart's Plan). By M. FENNELL. Crown 8vo. 3s. 6d. 

Public Schools and Public Opinion: an Apology for 

certain Methods in English Higher Education. By T. PELLATT. 
Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. net. 

LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO., 39 Paternoster Row; 
New York, Bombay and Calcutta. 

OQ CM - ! 



P* P 













Do not // 









re move // 

be • 





the card 1 


^ o 

1 s 


O oJ 



>, <» 



from this \ 





«M JZ 



Q +> 

\V HL 


Pocket. ^K 












— 0) 

Acme Library Card Pocket 

3 5 

Under Pat. "Ref. Index File." 

< H 1 |